Start­ing on the path to healthy fam­ily habits

Jun 11, 2012   //   by Guest   //   Blog, Family  //  Comments Off

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Family bike ride

The fol­low­ing is a guest post by Porter Olson.

Keep­ing your fam­ily healthy is prac­ti­cally a full time job, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t pos­si­ble for every fam­ily to achieve while hav­ing a bit of fun in the process. Some­times the hard­est part is tak­ing the first step.

Here are a cou­ple of tips to moti­vate you to move in the right direc­tion. Once you truly make that com­mit­ment to being healthy, these tips are going to act as your first steps on the path to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Step 1: Get Every­one Involved

You can’t start to build healthy habits unless every­one is on board. A fam­ily should work together to cre­ate a more active lifestyle. Becom­ing active doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean watch­ing exer­cise videos on your TV every night or run­ning at the gym. It sim­ply means mov­ing your body.

When I was a kid, my fam­ily used to walk to a local ice cream shop once a week. The whole fam­ily got to walk together across town and then get rewarded with a small scoop of ice cream to eat on the walk home. We all got out and got active as a family.

Try get­ting your fam­ily to head to a nearby park once a week, or talk to them about jog­ging through the neigh­bor­hood on Sat­ur­days. What­ever it is you do, the first step is devel­op­ing healthy habits together.

Step 2: Have Healthy Snacks

Try­ing to cook a home­made meal with a full serv­ing of fruits and veg­eta­bles every night right off the bat might be a lit­tle dif­fi­cult. Instead, focus on mak­ing smaller changes by incor­po­rat­ing healthy snacks in your diet. Healthy snacks are cheap, easy to make, and sur­pris­ingly delicious.

Apple slices with fat free caramel or peanut but­ter and raisins on cel­ery are quick snacks that kids love. Start imple­ment­ing healthy snacks and slowly wean every­one off potato chips. Before too long, you’ll be crav­ing fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles. It’s okay to have the junk food – depriv­ing your­self doesn’t have last­ing effects – but keep it in moderation.

Step 3: Being Healthy Involves Body and Mind

Don’t for­get that your mind plays a big part in cre­at­ing a healthy lifestyle. Keep­ing brains active helps improve atti­tudes, which results in strong phys­i­cal health.

Try tak­ing a look at the recre­ational activ­i­ties your fam­ily does together. Instead of catch­ing that 6:00 show, play a board game together that will engage everyone’s cre­ativ­ity, such as Cra­nium or Apples to Apples. And don’t for­get, laugh­ing together uses your core mus­cles and strength­ens abs.

Step 4: Don’t be Afraid to Learn Some­thing New

Many chil­dren, and even most adults, get rest­less after doing too much of the same thing. Keep the fam­ily moral high for healthy activ­i­ties by mix­ing it up every once in a while.

Instead of going for a walk, find a bike trail you can all ride on. Try to imple­ment sports with­out the stress of com­pe­ti­tion. Play bas­ket­ball at a local school or find an open space to toss a foot­ball or Fris­bee. Don’t let the fun stop once sum­mer ends; pack on warm lay­ers for a fun day in the snow with sled­ding and snow­ball fights. There are so many fun activ­i­ties that pre­vent you from ever using bore­dom as an excuse for not get­ting out and being active.

Step 5: Rep­e­ti­tion, Rep­e­ti­tion, Repetition

Imple­ment­ing exer­cise and healthy eat­ing is use­less if you only do it for a week. When start­ing to build healthy habits, set real­is­tic goals for you and your fam­ily. It’s okay to start small and build up to big­ger changes to improve your lifestyle.

Remem­ber, the first three weeks are the most dif­fi­cult time to develop habits. By the fourth week, your brain is already incor­po­rat­ing changes into the daily rou­tine. Push through those first few weeks and keep each other moti­vated. The fam­ily might be reluc­tant to change at first, but once the rewards of a health­ier and hap­pier lifestyle start to show, they won’t be able to stop.

About the Author: Porter Olson loves to be active with his family. 

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