Let's face it, children mimic what they see from adults. If children are raised around inactive people making unhealthy choices, odds are they will continue that pattern into adulthood. The best way to teach children healthy habits is to lead by example, and the good news is, it's never too late (nor too early) to start implementing healthy habits!
Make physical activity a part of your daily routine, and get creative - you don't have to hire a trainer or belong to a gym.
Here are some fun ways to get hearts pumping, without breaking the bank:
- Go for a bike ride or walk after dinner
- Grab your hiking shoes and head out on a nature scavenger hunt
- On a hot summer day, set up the sprinkler and take turns running through
- Have a family yoga night
- Turn on some tunes, and dance while you clean the house
- Set up an obstacle course in the yard, with fun prizes for everyone who participates
- Use those video game systems to your advantage! Systems like the Xbox, Wii, and PlayStation have fitness programs and games for all levels of fitness and abilities
How long should you exercise each day?
- Adults should set a goal of at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week, with a combination of vigorous and moderate activity.
- Children should set a goal of an hour of play a day through activities that stimulate the heart, mind, and develop coordination.
Finding time to exercise as a family can be a challenge, but don't let it be an excuse. Divide your time into 10-15 minute segments throughout the day, if that works better. Take it slow and set reachable goals, increasing your time and intensity as you get stronger. A fun way to track your progress is to keep a fitness journal or family chart, celebrating together as goals are reached.
Lead by example, and start making fitness a part of your family's routine. After all, the rewards are worth it! Exercise decreases your risk of heart disease and stroke
while increasing confidence, self-esteem, and energy!