Life is busy, which means we don’t always have the time to do something active every day. As parents it can be tough to fit healthy foods and exercise into your every day. However, if you lead a largely sedentary lifestyle and depend largely on convenience and fast foods, what kind of message is that sending your kids?
Here’s how you can set a good example for your loved ones by making fitness a family goal:
- Power down
After a long work or school day it’s easy to lose an evening stuck to the television or video game console. However, health experts point to excess screen time as a major cause of obesity and other health conditions among children. In fact, a report from California-based non-profit, Common Sense Media, indicated that teens between the ages of 13- and 18-years of age spend over 6 hours per day watching movies, videos, TV, browsing social media, the web, and playing video games. And the Canadian Paediatric Society claims children and adults who spend more than 2 hours daily in front of a screen, tend to be either overweight or obese.
- Book a family dinner date
When is the last time you ate dinner as a family? According to a Texas-based survey, approximately 47% of parents report sharing fewer meals with their family than when they were young. Make new memories by shopping, cooking, and eating together as a family. This teaches kids the importance of consuming healthy foods, and ensures the family is eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and fewer processed foods. Another important meal to consume together is breakfast because it establishes essential stores of energy and metabolism for the day ahead. Even if you’re busy, enlist the kids and spouse to assemble fresh fruit parfaits or smoothies in mason jars for the next morning.
- The family that moves together…
Stays healthy and happy together! Research from the University of South Florida, in Tampa, found that parents who were active with their children spent more quality one-on-one bonding time with their brood. It’s one thing to “walk the talk” when it comes to staying healthy and active, doing so as a family unit creates teamwork and feelings of support. So get your spouse and kids outside for regular activities—like walking the dog, cycling, ice skating, skiing, swimming, and chasing around a football.
- Be a strong role model
Kids by nature mimic almost everything their parents do. So if you’re prone to spending free time binging Netflix on the sofa, your children are bound to do the same. Instead, practice what you preach, and let your kids see and experience fun activities in the great outdoors. No doubt they’ll see the benefits of consistent, regular physical activity (i.e., more energy, better sleep) in you and themselves. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, children age 6 and over should get 60-minutes of physical per day while adults require 45-minutes of moderate activity per day.