We have all seen the reports in the media: we are quickly becoming an obese nation, kids included! Show your kids that there is a better way to life than just staring at a computer screen all day long, while munching fast food and sipping soda. The example you set and the lead they will follow will do you a world of good too, so get your children geared toward fitness and healthier living.
1. Turn off the media and tune into fitness. If your family members are absorbed in TV, gaming and surfing the web most of the time, this inactivity can hurt them. Being sedentary leads to weight gain over time and even other things like poor posture and bone health. Set a good block of time where no media is allowed to be played and physical activity is emphasized. Shoot some hoops or take a walk; do anything other than nothing!
2. Turn chores into workouts. Kids need guidelines and responsibility, so using chores as an opportunity for exercise gives you the benefit of multi-tasking with your parental lessons. Make contests out of yard work or turn washing floors and walls into aerobic activity. You could even add fitness to the list of things your kids can do to earn an allowance.
3. Let them help you prepare healthy meals. Nearly all kids love to play around in the kitchen, and this is a great time for you to show them that cooking with healthy olive oil is better than frying in butter, that wholesome ingredients should be a priority and that measuring portion sizes will reduce the caloric intake. Get excited about healthy cooking and get the whole family into it.
4. Go on outdoor adventures as a family. A weekend away makes for great family fun, but skip the room service and other sedentary habits. Take your kids on a camping trip that will include hiking and nature walks. Bring binoculars and your cameras, and turn it into a scientific expedition. Activities such as this will show your children that being fit is fun and can be incorporated into every area of their lives.
5. Take problem foods out of their diets. Sugar, salt, chemicals, saturated-fats from cereal to soda, snacks to frozen dinners with cartoons on them, it seems that everything geared toward your child’s diet in advertising is considerably unhealthy and borderline criminal. Rather than showing kids that food should be fast, sweet and sticky, we need to teach them that basic ingredients need to be considerate of our bodies and help us be healthy. Stop buying anything that doesn’t support health and weight management for your household.
6. Use the family vehicle less. Get everyone a bike or equip them with great sneakers. Using their legs as transportation will get them into a great habit and be beneficial for them at the same time. Enjoy the scenery along the way, stopping to examine bugs and flowers or to say hello to neighbors. As a bonus, you could use this method of staying fit as a lesson in oil-dependency and fuel cost management.
None of us wants to see our kids having a lower life expectancy rate than what we have; as parents, that is simply intolerable! Get your children out of this statistical nightmare and into a healthy and active way of life now.