Get Fit, As a Family!

Do you ever think that healthy eating and working out would be easy if it weren’t for your spouse or kids? Reasons that prevent a family from getting healthier are wide-ranging – from your child being in a non-vegetable eating phase, the constant need for on-hand snacks & sweets, the higher calorie content need of another family member, to holidays and birthday parties alike.

These common challenges families face to adopting healthier lifestyles are having dire consequences.   According to research by the CDC, “America’s youth, as a group, are becoming more out of shape with every passing year, regardless of their family’s economic situation.” Statistics show that less than a third of children 12-18 exercise as much as they should. The Cleveland Clinic has even started a pediatric cardiology clinic and, as its director states, “Thirty years ago, we would not have expected to see 12-year-olds with symptoms of cardiac disease.”

But guess what? You can take steps to get fit, as a family!

Fill up on the good, leave less room for the bad –
It might not be possible to give up some unhealthy favorites.  Are you or anyone in your family a die-hard creamy ice cream fan? Instead of filling up the bowl with ice cream, add fruit to the bowl and top with a small scoop of ice cream. Or try new flavors of low-fat frozen yogurts.

Sneaky Cook –
Sneak healthy, low-fat, low-calorie foods into your family’s favorite meals. For example, if your children like cheese omelets, keep fat in check by using 50 percent reduced-fat cheese and liquid egg whites, adding in a garden fresh veggies like tomatoes, red peppers, even broccoli.

Make it Fun –
A stop at the nearest fast food joint does not count as family quality time, but getting the kids or your spouse involved in food shopping or cooking can be! It not only strengthens the family bond but it can actually help them take more of an interest in your efforts to eat healthfully. Flip through pages of a healthy eating cookbook and pick out something new tonight!

Summer’s #1 Advantage? Early and Extended Daylight
You don’t need to wait until the sun is at the highest point to tie the laces. Exercise first thing in the morning or, after work, take the family to the park. Depending on where you live, the lake or the beach might also be possible.

Make Fitness A Family Event
Does your child takes an active interest in why you lay out a yoga mat and bend your body into pretzel shapes? Or does your spouse find the lap around the block as relaxing as you do? Invite the family along! From yoga and walking to aerobic dancing and fitness DVDs, you have a huge variety of options to choose from.

No Excuses!
Are you totally sure your 7 year olds’ busy schedule is keeping you from working out?  Throw on a pair of sneakers and walk the perimeter of the baseball field while he or she practices?

Schedule That!
Just like PTA meetings and dentist appointments, if you throw it on the family calendar, everyone is more likely to show up! Choose a time after school or after work or on the weekends when most family members are likely to be free and plan a family outing.

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