The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services provided alarming data on the health and fitness of children and adults in the United States.
According to statistics, about 12.5 million children and adolescents and 18 million adults are obese. If you consider the low percentage of physical activity among them and the increased screen time (more than seven and a half hours a day) among children, the prediction that obesity rates will increase in 2030 is highly likely.
The problem is adults don’t have time to be fit and healthy, preventing them from setting a good example among children.
This doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it.
Convincing your family to adopt a fit lifestyle, however, is challenging, especially when you have small kids. Your job schedule also makes it tough to squeeze in fitness into your schedule.
The benefits far outweigh the difficulties that you face, however. Developing healthy family fitness habits and lifestyle requires full commitment. Everyone must be willing to participate in order for it to succeed.
Think about the bonding experience this brings for the entire family and it will be worth a try. The entire gang will be doing something together while improving fitness level.
Below are some tips to follow to develop family fitness lifestyle habits and reap awesome benefits.
How to Get the Family Involved in Fitness
Create a Schedule
One of the main reasons why people (not just families) are unable to squeeze in a workout is because of their busy schedules. You cannot expect to build a fitness program that naturally falls into place.
You have to make an active and conscious effort to add exercise and fitness into your daily schedule. If you commit to it, no excuse will keep you from reaching your fitness goal.
Start by creating a schedule that your family could follow and make a habit out of. Start with small workouts (as little as 30 minutes a day), and then slowly adjust your schedule as the weeks go by.
While ideal, you do not need to do something active on a daily basis. Slowly work the habit into everyone’s schedule. Make sure to get the entire family involved in planning the schedule so they will look forward to it, particularly the kids.
Start with Functional Exercises
You cannot expect your children to become fully engaged right off the bat.
It is, therefore, important to choose functional exercises that are fun for them, too. One example is walking. This is one of the most beneficial yet easy-to-do exercises. Get your kids to join you for a walk each day or a few times each week.
You can then gradually increase the amount of time you spend walking each day. Go on different trails to make the entire activity exciting. Who doesn’t want to go on an excursion or an explorer’s adventure?
Other functional exercises the family can do are jogging, swimming, and cycling. These activities are fun to do together as a family. Before you know it, everyone reaps the benefits of regular physical activity.
Encourage Them to Do Sports
This is one of the best ways to promote fitness in your family. Sports are especially great for kids. Keep them motivated by allowing your child to pick the sport they want to engage in. Join them, and they’ll be more encouraged to participate.
Sports not only boost their health and fitness level but are also a good way to develop their character.
The fresh outdoor air offers plenty of benefits to your physical and mental health. So, go ahead, encourage everyone in your family to go outside and engage in different physical activities–hiking, cycling, walking, etc.
It is important to instill in your child at a young age the value of being outdoors. This will naturally encourage them to explore and do something active.
Limit Screen Time
One of the biggest hurdles to convincing the kids of today to get moving is the amount of screen time that they’re allowed to enjoy. Try to set limits on the hours that they spend in front of the TV or a computer screen each day. One way to help cut screen time is to play outside and engage in sports.
Incorporate a Healthy Diet
A fitness lifestyle is best achieved with a balanced and nutritious diet. Encourage your children to eat fruits and vegetables and follow recipes that make healthy foods more palatable for them. It takes proper planning to be able to create meals that are not only healthy but also something that your kids will get to enjoy.
Part of the process is to eliminate fast food or junk food from their diet. Don’t stock up on such food items to eliminate temptations.
The combination of a healthy diet and physical activities is beneficial to you and your children’s health.
Support Each Other
As a family, you need to be each other’s motivator and support system.
As kids need the most motivation, parents should be the best cheerleader. When they hit puberty, you, as a parent, must encourage them to become more active. Show them that you support them and that you are proud of their achievements (no matter how small they are).
Do not focus on results yet. Just look at the effort and the commitment they have made towards being part of your fitness lifestyle journey. All fitness experts say that getting started is the hardest part. Make sure you support them if they decide to pursue a fitness lifestyle.
The Bottom Line
Getting into the habit of exercising and maintaining a fitness routine is easier now with access to many tools and apps. There’s one that is sure to suit the individual fitness needs of family members.
For counting calories, for example, two of the highly recommended are MyFitnessPal and Noom. Is Noom better than MyFitnessPal? The answer depends on your goals and fitness needs.
Noom, for example, is best if you’re looking for a coach to provide support. MyFitnessPal, however, doesn’t offer 24/7 support but has a forum and is easier to use. Both are accurate calorie counters.
Now that you have the tools needed to pursue a fitness lifestyle with the entire family, get everyone up and participating in different physical activities. Motivate them to persevere and eat and live healthily.
Article written by Isaac Robertson, Co-Founder and Head Coach at Total Shape.
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