Starting on the path to healthy family habits

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.