Five Family New Year’s Resolutions To Keep Active
Childhood obesity is a growing problem in modern society — as kids become increasingly sedentary and inundated with less-healthy eating options. While the problem, according to GreatSchools.org, is a societal one, as parents, it’s essential to make changes at home that will help set your children up for a healthy weight throughout their younger years. This New Year’s
, instead of creating personal resolutions, make a resolution to incorporate healthy family activities. Here are five family resolutions to embrace that will have far-reaching benefits for your kids’ health when striving to be more active.
- Schedule Activities
You already know how easy it is to say, “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow.” In order to ensure that your family active time is happening, schedule it.
Activities do not have to be trips to the gym. Plan for active family games, like a walk after dinner or simply spending time outdoors (minus the lawn chairs).
While scheduling activity, allot for unplugged times. Phones, tablets and computers are the recipe for a sedentary lif
estyle. Schedule times during the day when no electronic device is in use — for kids or parents — and an active pursuit is tackled.
- Walk Everywhere You Can
Whether or not you are using a fitness tracker, do what you can to walk more throughout the day. Park in the farthest parking place, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and walk to the corner store instead of driving. Making walking a family habit will increase your overall activity levels, so you are healthier throughout the year. As you start adding more walking, consider making family walks after dinner a routine. The family time is a great opportunity to chat while being active.
- Tackle an Event Together
If your kids are old enough, pursue an upcoming race or other health event as a family. This provides the opportunity to train together, learn more about your bodies, and cheer one another to success. The event can be something simple, like a mile run in the community. Or, it can be more complex, like a triathlon designed for younger kids — depending on your health level and the age of your children.
The event is not as important as the process of training and supporting one another as a group. Also, because you have a goal in mind, you will be far less tempted to skip the workouts and training regimen. Even better, your family will be held accountable to one another — since you’re all participating.
- Keep Track
Fitness trackers and pedometers make it easy to trace how many calories you are burning or steps you are taking. Use these to your advantage.
Have everyone in the family use one and track the activity amount. You can even turn this into a friendly competition, offering a reward at the end of the week to the one who takes the most steps or burned the most calories. Tracking helps you and your kids be more aware of the active choices you are making — and competition provides a reason to get moving.
- Say “Yes” to Water
While not necessarily an “active” step, water is essential when your family starts to increase activity levels. Proper hydration is vital to fueling the body as it exercises. More water consumption can also help with healthy eating goals. Many times, people reach for a snack when, in fact, they are just dehydrated. Kids definitely prefer sweetened drinks to water when they are thirsty.
How much water do you need? While there are many opinions, Mayo Clinic indicates men need about 13 cups of fluids every day and women need 9 cups. Kids will need less — but most kids need more than they are currently getting. Health ambition: how much water do you need daily?
Water can also help stave off unnecessary eating. Drinking a cup of water 15 minutes before eating can help you eat less, and will also help you get into the routine of drinking more water.
Remember, parents greatly influence their kids’ eating and exercising habits. Make 2016 the year that you improve those habits so your children learn how to live healthy, active lives — now and as adults.
About the author:David Reeves is the Marketing Director of Superior Recreational Products (SRP). For more than 30 years, Superior Grounds For Play, a division of SRP, has been focused on the design of safe play structures that provide challenging physical and mental exercises for specific age groups.