In their latest study the CDC states that during the past 20 years more than one-third of adults (35.7%) and 12.5% of children and teens are obese. It's a worrisome state of America and something needs to change. And it needs to start at home.How does your family keep fit? If it weren't for jumping to conclusions, running amuck and bouncing off the walls, many families might not even have any action in their household. But seriously, things are alarmingly chronic with more and more Americans being classified as obese.
Fortunately my husband is an avid biker, swimmer and runner. He is a wonderful role model for my family including me. I did not grow up in a family that put an emphasis on sports or being active. As it is, we do enjoy our sofa time as a family watching favorite shows and movies mostly during the weekend. But my husband has experienced watching his father battle a variety of health related problems including 3 heart attacks, a stroke, cancer and now emphysema. It's a daily reminder that we choose how we live our life and that it's up to us how we take care of our health. Here are ways we keep our children fit and involved with how they can maintain a healthy lifestyle even after they leave our home.
- When my 3 daughters were young, we taught them how to ride a bike. It's a great way to get them outdoors and play with the other kids in the neighborhood. Biking also gives kids a sense of independence. My youngest daughter has enjoyed biking to school which is great exercise and it reduces our carbon footprint! Most kids know how to ride a bike at around the age of 8. Be sure your kid is one of them.
- As I mentioned, my husband bikes, swims and runs, in other words he's a tri-athlete. Not only did he teach our children how to ride a bike, he also taught them how to swim and that enabled them to compete in kids triathlons. Check if your city has triathlons for children at sites like TriFind. We emphasized with our children that it was more important to set their own goals in the competition and that completing it was a huge accomplishment. They thoroughly enjoyed preparing, participating and completing each race. Eventually we got a number of other families to join in the tri-fun.
- We are very fortunate to live within driving distance to a ski resort. While it's not for everyone and is an expensive sport we have been so lucky to get our kids on the slopes at a young age, at about 5 or 6 years old. My husband learned to ski when he was a teen but I did not learn until I was an adult. It's not as easy to learn a sport like skiing or snowboarding when you're an adult. So teaching sports that require a great deal of finesse is a huge benefit as they can do it throughout their adulthood. Plus it's a winter sport to keep them active during the cold months. I know many folks who ski well into their 60s and 70s. It's also a sport you can do with your extended family on vacation.If you cannot afford skiing, try ice skating, sledding or shoe shoeing, al great winter sports.
- My husband has coached all 3 of my daughters in soccer. While some kids may not appreciate having a dad as a coach, my daughters all enjoyed having him lead their teams. Seeing their dad out on the field gives them a great example of how parents can continue to stay active with them as they grow up.
- Growing up I never had a pet. But that changed because my middle daughter persisted and broke my resolve to own a pet. But I am forever grateful to her because we now have two amazing and loving family dogs (a Golden Retriever and a Black Labrador) who keep me active every single day. Our daily routine includes walking our dogs twice a day, once in the morning and once in the early evening. Not a day goes by where you won't see us on the trail behind our backyard where we walk our dogs, meet other dog owners and have fun talking to our neighbors along the way. Pets are a great way to stay active your whole life. On top of that they provide unconditional love and are truly man's best friend.
- This year a friend encouraged me to try yoga. I have a yoga DVD that I've used off and on but taking a class in person is so much better. The teacher ensures that I have correct posture and poses and the camaraderie is good for the soul. I'm now up to 2 classes a week at 90 minutes each. As I get older I realize that yoga will help with my balance, posture and keep me limber which are vital especially for women as we age.
My children see me practicing my yoga moves and they all know that my husband loves to work out. I teach them about proper nutrition so we eat right, exercise and stay fit as a family. These are all life-long skills that they are equipped with when they are on their own. And if they eventually have a family of their own my hope is they will teach their own children to be active through example also.
What are you doing to teach your children about life-long healthy habits and keep them active year-round?