Is Your Family Out of Shape?
Every parent wants to do their best to raise healthy, happy children. More and more, we're discovering that the key is fitness--that winning combination of healthy eating and exercise that keeps our body, mind and spirit working at full capacity. Unfortunately, too many parents fail to make fitness a priority or are confused about where to start. There's no better time than now to take control of your family's health. It's easier than you think and a whole lot of fun.
The President's Council on Physical Fitness (PCPF) says, "Today's children may be less fit than at any other time in history. One study showed approximately 44 percent of U.S. children have at least one major risk factor for heart disease by age 12. Obesity and physical inactivity in children are linked to a host of health problems in later life," That includes heart disease, diabetes, depression and cancer.
Studies show habits formed early in life are more likely to last a lifetime. The best way to teach children the value of fitness is by example. PCPF reports: kids who grow up in households with inactive adults are likely to be the same, and one of the biggest fitness motivators for any age is having physically active role models."
The PCPF provides these creative fitness tips for kids and families:
- Dance to music
- Play games like tag and hopscotch
- Join a sports team at school or the park
- Go on a walk together
- Play at the park
- Turn off the TV for a day
How do you weave fitness into your family's lifestyle?
- Revamp your family's diet. Toss out the processed foods and stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. Make cooking a family activity. Encourage everyone to contribute ideas for healthy menus and shop together. Don't forget about breakfast. Forgo the sugary cereals for oatmeal, whole grain waffles, eggs, fruit and yogurt.
- Schedule activity into every day. If your children don't already have sports and physical education in their school day, sign them up for after-school activities. If they're not the "team type," go for swimming lessons, dance, gymnastics or any other activity they'll enjoy. Don't take "no" for an answer. Tell them they can help choose activities but can't choose to do nothing.
- Make it a family thing. Go for walks together after dinner. Head to the park, play tennis, swim, hike, bike and join family sport teams. Plan weekends around physical activity. Remember, kids learn by example. Family's that play together, stay fit.
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