Family fitness can be a hard goal to reach. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 80 percent of both adults and adolescents don’t get enough physical activity to meet the recommended guidelines, which include 60 minutes of activity each day for adolescents and 75 to 150 minutes of activity per week for adults.
Fortunately, there are some fun and easy ways to get the whole family living a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to help guide you along the path to family fitness.
- Set goals together. Your goals can be anything, like limiting TV time, eating more vegetables, increasing activity or whatever else fits your family needs.
When you plan together as a family, make sure your goals are measurable and achievable. Set both small and large goals so that you can track your progress easily.
- Eat healthier meals. This can be difficult to do, especially if you’re crunched for time and have picky eaters. However, you can make small changes to your family’s diet without upsetting the delicate balance you’ve worked so hard to achieve during dinner time. Here are some tips to help you cook a healthier meal:
- Use less sodium. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, if Americans reduced their sodium intake by 1,200 mg per day it could collectively save up to $20 billion each year in medical costs.
- Don’t consume empty calories. Some of the most common foods Americans eat that are full of empty calories include soda, dairy and grain desserts, fruit drinks, whole milk and pizza.
- Decrease the fat in your meals. Common foods with high saturated fat include lard, fatty cuts of red meat, coconut oil and high-fat dairy foods like butter and cheese.
- Cook more vegetables. As a whole, Americans don’t eat the vegetables they should each day. Encourage your family to break away from the norm and eat more vegetables.
- Reduce sugars and refined grains. The typical American diet intakes more than the recommended amount of refined grains and sugars. It’s a common trap to fall into, but can be easily avoided by changing the ingredients you use in meals.
- Be active together. Being active with your family doesn’t have to be a big hassle. Here are some ideas for simple, fun activities your family can do together.
- Go for a bike ride.
- Play a game of basketball, football, baseball, or any other sport.
- Use your imagination to run from monsters or other pretended dangers.
- Take the family pet out for a stroll.
- Hike local nature trails.
- Try geocaching.
- Take a martial arts class or another course you can do together.
- Train for and run in marathons and 5ks together.
- Encourage friendly competition. This can be an especially great way to motivate siblings. While you don’t want the competition to become too aggressive, a little competitiveness can encourage your kids and the rest of your family to push themselves harder and do more.
- Offer an incentive. Sometimes, the idea of exercising and eating right isn’t a good enough incentive by itself, especially for kids. You can encourage a healthy lifestyle by offering some type of reward, like special one-on-one time with parents or family friends, a family trip at the end of a successful and healthy year or a special activity of the family’s choosing.
For more ideas on how to keep your family fit, schedule an appointment with us today by calling 614.299.9909.