The world seems to be making it ever easier for us to lead a sedentary life. Online shopping, banking and mobile phones give us what we want in a flash … Our lives can be run without leaving the house (cabin fever anyone)? And yet, it can often feel like we’re more and more time poor. With the demands of appointments, work, to-do lists, extra-curricular activities, housework – there can be so many things that make us put fitness on the back-burner.
And if you’ve ever told your kids to do as you say, you’ll know that they’re watching you to see what you do too. So if you’re leading a couch potato lifestyle, is it any wonder if your kids are following your example and childhood obesity rates are making headlines? The good news for us parents is that there are simple things we can do to take back control of our health and our kids’ healthy; there are heaps of ways to be creative, make exercise fun and motivate the family to get outdoors and start moving!
5 simple steps to becoming a fitter family
1. Create a family fitness plan
Time to put your thinking caps on and work out:
What motivates your family?
What sports/activities do you like?
What time of the day works best?
What are your goals? To eat better, to be active, get outdoors – what works for you?
When there are children involved it’s a good idea to remove focus from the end goal – weight management or getting fit – and focus instead on having some fun family time. The health benefits will come if you choose lifestyle goals that lean towards making better food choices and being active. Another tip is to focus your attitude on what you’ll all gain from your new lifestyle rather than what you will be missing out on. Remember, if it’s not fun it won’t work.
2. Arm yourself with the right info
Teach yourself how to read food labels; don’t always believe what’s stated on a food product, it’s usually a marketing gimmick.REad the ingredients and remember that the top five listed are the ones that are the most important. There are apps that can help you out, and it’s a fun way to investigate what’s in your favourite foods.
Find some websites to follow that keep you motivated as well as inspired to lead a healthier life. There are some great ideas flying around the internet. Arm yourself with knowledge aimed straight at families with a pack like the BUPA nutrition toolkit , which is filled with tips, recipes and ideas for healthy eating.
Having the right exercise equipment can also help keep you on track as you’ll want to use your new goodies. Grab some new bikes, helmets, skateboards, running shoes or surfboards and make it happen.
3. Do it together
Go to the library or search the web for new healthy recipes then take the kids shopping. Involving them in the process creates excitement and something they’ll take pride in and hopefully eat! You could even plan your own family Masterchef and give each child their own turn at creating a healthy meal for dinner during the week (with some supervision from the head chef – that’s you! – of course)
Enter a family fun run, turn your lounge room into a gym or set aside a morning a week where you can walk/ride to school together (and do the same for after school pickup too). Turn your neighbourhood into a ‘nature walk’ and search nearby streets for flowers and new adventures. Kids love being active with their parents, so it’s always worth the initial effort of enticing them away from the computer or TV.
4. Make healthy living fun
Get adventurous and try out a ‘healthy’ restaurant. Watching the selections your kids make from the menu will also give you an indication of what they might like to make at home. Try a new grain, vegetable or flavours you have never had before.
Set up a veggie patch and watch how your kids love to chart the progress of a tomato plant or snow pea. Find your nearest stand-up paddle (SUP) boarding or kayak hire and take the family to explore your local waterways. Or it can be as simple as pumping out the top 40 music singles and hosting your own version of ‘So you think you can dance’.
Plan your next holiday to be an active one, where you can go bushwalking, horseriding, sailing or surfing together. Take the bikes, the scooters and the skateboards and walk, ride or scoot into town for dinner each evening.
5. Set realistic goals you can have fun tracking
Pop eight Post-It notes on a wall every morning and take one down each time you take a step towards your health goals that day (e.g. took the dog for a walk or tried a new veggie for lunch), or to help track a new habit you are trying to break (21 days is a good start).
Pedometers can be a fun way to track your steps. Set up a family challenge to see who can cover the greatest distance each day. The BUPA family challenge is another excellent way to get you all motivated and moving towards a healthier lifestyle. There are a number of challenges that the whole family can get involved in and you can track your progress and see how you have all come and the changes that you and your family have made.
Make it a goal to discover each street in your neighbourhood within three months, (or six months if it’s a big one!) Throw on your runners and the kids can scoot or ride beside you. You’re out doing something active and that’s the main thing.
Keep a chart on the fridge where each person marks off their fruit and veggie intake for the day. Doing this is a great visual way for young kids to get an idea of what a healthy diet looks like. Reward with gold stars, stickers or a non-edible treat such as a trip to the movies for everyone. Ahh now, aren’t treats like this even more enjoyable because you’ve earned it?
This post appeared first on Kidspot