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Get Healthy as a Family

Get your family active and healthy with these simple tips

Written by Lisa Mathews

A close relative and friend asked me, “If I want to get our family healthy, what would be ONE thing that we could do to get started?” She is on the right track because having the desire to make change is a good first step. Changing eating, exercise and lifestyle habits can be pretty overwhelming. You should pick your battles and decide just one area to start making changes. Of course my first answer is exercise and there are several ways to start making healthy choices.

Tip #1

Get involved.

Sit down and make a list of all the activities you like to do or would be willing to try. Take a walk, go on a hike, pitch in to do a neighbor’s yard work, hit a bike trail, or go to the playground. These are just a few ways to get moving. Once you have the list, set a goal to choose three of those activities a week to do together. Weekends can be an opportunity to incorporate a larger activity as a reward for implementing your weekday activities. Hit a national park, amusement park or the zoo for fun. Scavenger hunts or geocaching (found at geocaching.com) are other ways to get going together.

Tip #2

Eat Healthy.

Plan healthy snacks for when you are on the go so you don’t make poor choices. The worst thing you can do is sabotage your family activity with a quick stop at a fast food restaurant on the way home.

Tip #3

Make the Time.

Plan these family activities so you have time set aside. Schedule your activities into your weekly family calendar just like you would for all practices, lessons and church and community obligations. Don’t just wing it. There are too many excuses that can come up.

Tip #4

Make History.

Keep an activity journal or blog. It is a fun way to chronicle all the good times you are having as a family. Your documentation is a measurable way to make sure you are on track. Pictures can show your progress and can be very motivating.

Tip #5

Set Goals.

Buy pedometers for everyone so they can keep track of how many steps they are taking in a day. The recommended number of steps is 6000 for health, 10,000 for weight loss when you count all steps during the day. For weight loss, an uninterrupted walk each day of 4000–6000 steps is recommended. Set up a healthy reward system to those who get the most miles in a week.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has become more challenging with the influence of TV, internet, and gaming. With hectic schedules plus full calendars, daily exercise can seem impossible. Make your family's health a priority. Get active and moving together.

Article Reviewed: June 22, 2012
Copyright © 2014 Healthy Magazine
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