A Healthy and Active Lifestyle Starts at Home
Here are a few tips to encourage health and fitness lessons that will last a lifetime.
Make Fitness a Top Priority
Many kids face the same workout obstacle as adults: fitness is an afterthought. Creating a detailed fitness plan works for both adults and kids. Plan fitness activities throughout the week for the whole family. Fitness does not have to mean organized sports. Just going outside to toss a frisbee or walk to the park to play is a great way to fit in exercise without it feeling like another thing you have to do.
Lead by Example
Children with active dads are 3.5 times more likely to exercise than those with inactive dads. But when both mom and dad are active, kids are six times more likely to exercise. Make it a family affair. Choose things that you can do together like biking or hiking and not only will you all get healthier, you will also reap the benefits of creating great bonding moment while making great family memories.
Create a Team
The best way to stick to an exercise program and to make it fun is to make it social. Get some friends together to get in shape for a 5K race or a hiking trip. For kids, be sure to start and end exercise with high-fives or a cheer. You don’t have to go camping to go for a hike. Simply look up local hiking paths, gather up the crew, let them invite their friends and get out there. Choose a new trail each week. Nature is inspiriting and interesting to everyone and makes exercise fun. Keep it simple and everyone will stay on board.
Make Fitness Fun
Find activities that you and your kids truly enjoy doing, such as riding bikes, rollerblading, sports, etc. When the exercise was fun or playful, 83% of overweight kids did it consistently. Kids who took part in 10 weeks of sports and games viewed exercise more positively and were more likely to engage in fitness activities again. Make a family plan or a family goal that everyone can agree with such as taking a vacation to somewhere that you all would need to be in shape to participate in what the vacation spot offers. Work toward that goal together.
Make Your Gym Partake
A playground or backyard can be a perfect exercise spot. Try racing up the slide and sliding down, do this five time. Do as many chin-ups as you can on the bars, or climb ropes. Do a few sets of pushups with your hands or feet on a beam or slide. Set up a course in a circuit and each of you can start at one station and that exercise for 45 seconds…etc. Keep it fun and try to laugh as often as you can while you are all working out.
Exercise can be its own reward. don’t reward your children for exercising with a snack. Instead, use this as an opportunity to teach the importance of replenishing a tired body with a fresh fruit protein smoothie. Have your family invent a smoothie that they will love to drink. Use vanilla or chocolate protein powder, fresh fruit, peanut butter, etc. to create the perfect end to a great workout session.
Cut Down TV Time
TV is the enemy of activity: kids are twice as likely not to get enough exercise if they are planted in front of the TV for more than 2 hours a day. Kick them outside to get some fresh air. Give them a TV time limit and unlimited outside play time. This goes for all electronic devices as well. (This goes for you too parents.
Think Outside the Gym
Kids want to go, go, go…and the gym can feel like a prison, for you and your kids. Exercise doesn’t have to be regimented and confined-mix it up! Gardening, nature walks, bike rides, walking the dog..just get out there and be active. Enough said. Exercise doesn’t have to mean torture, competition, another expense, sports, coaches or even trainers. Just lace up a pair of sneakers and walk outside to get started.
Download this PDF to keep these tips handy.