If you’ve been working out for a while and are firmly grounded in eating healthy, you might want to extend that great feeling to those you love and help develop better habits for the whole family. Even if you’re new to the healthier lifestyle, it can also be part of your goal. You’ll be leading by example, for starters, but there’s other ways you can get your spouse, children and maybe even friends on the fitness bandwagon without saying a word.
Be a true leader and a role model.
While your family may not want to go to the gym, or it might not be appropriate for them if they’re younger, you don’t have to drag them to an exercise class to get results. Instead, start looking for ways to make their day more active, while still having fun. Consider family bicycling or going for hikes or nature walks on the weekend. Join the kids in play and keep it active. Consider skating, rollerblading or if the budget is tight, go for family hula hoops and have a blast! It creates both fond memories, fun and a love of activity. It also can burn off some of that energy the kids have bottled up inside them.
Make every opportunity count.
If you take the kids to the grocery with you, park further from the door and if possible, when you go back to the car, have each child carry a bag. The extra walk is worth the effort and carrying bags appropriate to their strength builds muscle tissue. Do you drive the kids a few blocks to school? Don’t. Walk them there instead. You might actually save time, especially if the drop-off line is long. Add extra time by leaving earlier. You still have the walk home.
Make eating healthy an adventure, but not a big deal.
Too often parents reward their child with a sweet treat if they ate their healthy food. That gives the healthy food a reputation for being something you have to tolerate to get to the good stuff. That’s just not right and sets in motion a poor attitude for healthy eating. Instead, find creative ways to introduce healthy eating, like making a favorite dish healthier. Use zucchini noodles for lasagna and spaghetti squash for spaghetti. Let the kids see how the spaghetti is made. It’s fascinating for people of all ages that such yummy pasta-tasting noodles come from a plant. Have healthy snacks, like nuts, veggies and dips already prepared and in the refrigerator or individual bags.
- If you’re planning a vacation or a trip to an amusement park like Disney, get the family ready for the trip. Whether it’s Dad, Mom or the kids, everyone will enjoy it more if they’re in shape for all the walking.
- Limit computer time and technology, especially for children. There are studies that show that it can lead to changes in the brain in developing minds that bring on depression in adulthood.
- Does your family consist of furbabies only or are they part of your family? Playing with them can provide an extra workout for both the furry family member and the non-furry one. Walking, playing catch and a ball and string for kitty will get both moving.
- Don’t emphasize the healthy part when you’re creating snacks and meals. Remember, it’s just GOOD food. Your kids will grow up identifying it as that and be more likely to eat healthy as adults.