Welcome to a new category of my blog simply called ‘Healthy Tips.’ Many times, when I write articles for various publications, I need to find sources for the story. Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo Shine (click here) and PBS (click here) about keeping kids healthy. I was looking for experts and parents to chime in and give their favorite ‘tips’ to help kids (and their families) lead a healthy lifestyle.
The feedback for the story was amazing. The sources had some fantastic points of view that could not be ignored, and I thought their opinions should be viewed on the Your Health Journal web site.
So, enjoy my new series, with some ‘great’ insight from some ‘great’ people giving exceptional and educational points of view.
Families are the most powerful influence of change. If a family works together on small, positive goals each week, each member can make substantial changes in his or her health and overall quality of life.
Here are 10 simple steps that families can take to make big leaps toward better health.
• Set a goal to walk together as a family one evening this week. Walking as a family is a great way to build both good health and better relationships. So, find a nearby hiking trail and take a weekend or after-school trek; you may even be surprised to discover interesting places beyond your daily commute routes to school or work.
• Make bikes, helmets, rollerblades, and other sports equipment easily accessible for some spontaneous fun.
• Plan active family activities each week (bike rides, hikes, neighborhood walks, flying kites, Frisbee, tag, etc.).
• Make a family pact to move more each day. Call a family meeting and brainstorm ways to make it happen. Some ideas include walking to work or school, choosing a parking space farther away from your destination, or even using a restroom in a different part of your building.
• Plan to do a physically active family project. Here’s another opportunity for a family brainstorm. Some ideas include cleaning out the garage, planting a garden, building a fort or tree house, or helping an elderly neighbor clean up her yard.
• Go to a playground and play as a family. Parents can swing on swings while the kids push. Whiz down slides, climb on monkey bars, and play tag – don’t worry about looking silly, just enjoy yourself and enjoy your family.
• Find a walking/running track in your area. Challenge family members to see how many laps they can do in 20 minutes.
• Play an active game like tag, ultimate Frisbee, or even Twister® at least one day this week. Active games are not only great exercise, but they also provide a lot of laughing time as well. Encourage inactive family members to play for just 5 minutes. Running around and laughing brings out the kid in everyone!
• Buy a pedometer (less than $10 on sale) and have each member of the family wear it for one day this week. Keep a running tally of how many steps each person takes when it is his/her turn to wear it. Each week, challenge each member of your family to increase the number of steps he/she takes during the day. A great website to visit is www.americaonthemove.org America On The Move is an organization that challenges Americans to increase their daily walking by a 2000 steps (about 1 mile) as well as decrease their daily eating by 100 calories. With these simple steps, people can lose weight and become healthier.
• This week, while waiting for someone in your family to finish an activity or sports practice, get out and walk. Most families are involved in many different extra-curricular activities, and busy schedules make it difficult to fit in a daily workout. So the next time the family is waiting for one member to finish an activity, don’t just sit in the car and wait – get out and take a short walk. You will not only get some spontaneous exercise, you may discover a fun place for your next family adventure or even a new Mexican restaurant to try.
– Carol Frazey is the mom of a 10 and a 12 year old and the author of The Fit School Newsletter