Monday, December 10, 2012

Fitness can be a Family affair

It's probably the P.E teacher in me, but I always love finding ways to make exercise fun, motivating and HEALTHY for the whole family!  

If you've looked at the statistics lately: 

If one parent is obese, there is a 50% chance that the child will also be obese.  

According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (a great non profit organization aimed at reducing childhood obesity by 2015), "1 in 3 children and youth, ages 2-19 in the United States are already overweight or obese."  These children are already at risk for heart disease, asthma and Type 2 diabetes.  


I've created 8 steps to help turn your 
family's fitness into a family affair!

  1. Change it up.  Adults can often forget that playing is exercise!  Bowling one day, a family walk the next...possibilities are endless.  Anything that gets your family moving counts as exercise, keep that in mind.  
  2. Keep track.  Make a calendar and if you have a family that enjoys healthy competition, mark miles ran/walked, best record times, games won, etc.  A great way to keep your kids motivated while having fun!
  3. Get outdoors and away from electronics!  Play in the backyard or at the park.  Walk around the neighborhood.  Fresh air and exercise are always remedies for a great mood and workout too!
  4. Run/Walk for a cause.  This can really get your family motivated, especially if it's something that's close to your heart.  Find a local organization that's hosting a fun run/walk, get your family and friends to join in too.  
  5. Make a schedule.  A structured workout schedule will work great for your family.  Set times/days of the week and write it down.  This is also a time to put down the computer, iPad, gaming devices, etc.  This way it doesn't interfere with other sports, school functions, etc.  If you've planned something that can't fit in the time allowed, turn on some jams and have a living room dance party!!!  Be flexible!
  6. Write it down.  Make your family commit by signing a contract or the schedule.  If it's weight loss, write it down.  It will hold the entire family accountable!
  7. Get ideas from your kids!  Ask the children what they'd like to do to get moving or for exercise.  Then the family does whatever that child chooses that's active.  It also helps the child associate certain things as being fit and active!  Chances are, they'll have some fun ideas in their head so listen up!
  8. Keep it interesting and FUN!  Do something you guys wouldn't normally do.  Set up your very own field day in the backyard.  Rock climbing or a family football game.   My kids even love jumping rope when I make it a game and we count together....but this would work well with older children/teens too!  Ya know your teen would love to out-jump rope you!  

How my family stays fit?  

We run together.  Ride bikes together.  Go camping together and explore the outdoors!  My boys think exercise is FUN and that is a goal I intend to keep for myself as a mother and a wife.  I want my family to continue making HEALTHY memories together!  I know we'll have our challenges as they grow older, but I've made a promise to myself that I'll always remember that they will cherish these memories for a lifetime and hopefully develop some healthy habits that will stick with them for a lifetime.  
My oldest son has already found a love for running and bike riding.  He loves to run fast and always talks about how he's working his heart muscle with every activity that he does.  We learn the healthy foods and not-so-healthy foods.  We teach them moderation and portion control with all foods, especially the junk foods!  I know that I must allow them to make decisions on their own and if they want chips or cookies, I give in but explain that those foods are good on occasion, not all of the time and they know that now!

Part of my issues growing up were that I didn't understand portion control AT ALL.  I'd come home from school, while my Mother was still at work and I'd raid the pantry like I hadn't eaten in days.  I believe it is a VERY fine line that can be crossed when it comes to helping your children, you don't want to deprive them and then they turn to junk food always and can't stop.  I'd feel horribly guilty after eating that way, because I wanted to lose weight and look like my classmates and friends BUT I felt trapped.  I'd uncontrollably eat, feel awful, cry and then eat to cover the emotions...what a vicious cycle for a growing teenager.  

Do you make fitness a family affair?  


Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

Great tips! I like to have dance parties with my kids, or play ball games outside. Tag is always great too.

Run with Jess said...

Great post! I love including my kids whenever possible... hubby too, although he resists more than the kids! LOL

Jessica Collins said...

Oh, I just love this idea of making fitness a natural thing for families to do. We love the trampoline, bike rides, dog walks, trail walking, YMCA family nights... My Peanut even joins in on my workout videos every so often (esp. kickboxing) and he insists on getting a turn on the treadmill. Ha! I had a post about this too:

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