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What you can do to help your family to be more active
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Now that New Year's Day has come and gone – and all those resolutions are sitting in the corner collecting dust – many moms like you are wondering what they can do to get their husbands and kids back into a more active lifestyle.
You know that an hour a day of physical activity reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. You know that getting your kids into sports can improve their self-confidence and social skills. And you know that life isn't slowing down and you just want to spend more time with your kids while you still have the chance.
But how? How do you make it all happen? Below are four ideas that you can implement immediately to get your family out the door and into a more active lifestyle.
One of the best ways to jumpstart an active lifestyle is to take up a new physical activity. Kids might really enjoy getting into a local youth soccer or baseball league so they can make new friends and play with kids their own age. And there are sports leagues for grownups too. There are also groups and classes offering activities that focus more on individual such as karate, yoga and cardio kickboxing. A quick search on the Internet should turn up several opportunities in your area.
But maybe your family would rather take up a new activity all on your own, without having to join a group or a class. Your family might enjoy running, lifting weights, tennis or hiking. The possibilities are endless.
The important thing is to be open-minded and let everyone have some input when trying out different activities. Teenagers might be reluctant to try out a new sport that Mom and Dad suggest, for instance, but they'll be more likely to go to practice every week if it was their idea in the first place. This is especially important, considering that only 29% of high school students are getting the recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day.
Whether you decide to sign up for organized activities or not, it helps to establish a regular routine. Kids and parents alike often thrive on routine, so get the family together and plan out what days and times you'll be getting together to take on your new activities.
At the very least, start with a weekly outing and make it non-negotiable. Write it down in your daily planner and mark it on the calendar on your refrigerator where everyone will see it throughout the day. Once you've established a once-a-week activity, discuss how you can work in some additional exercise on other days of the week. You could do more of the same activity – if everyone is enjoying it – or you can take turns and let other family members recommend something new.
Electronics are a fact of everyday life in the modern world. Whether we like it or not, our kids are going to be spending a lot of time staring at computer screens, phones and tablets for the rest of their lives. So we don't need to force unrealistic expectations upon them or ourselves.
But that doesn't mean we can't establish some downtime to unplug and focus on other things.
The best way to manage kids' screen time is to set aside blocks of time where electronics are shut down while the family focuses on doing something else. This, of course, is the perfect time get active. If you've already scheduled your new activities as mentioned above, then simply designating those times – plus a little time before and after – as device-free should do the trick.
You might even block off the same time every single day just to give everyone a break from their phones, whether you have other activities schedule then or not.
Another fun way to get a new exercise routine off the ground is to go shopping for some new exercise equipment and cute new outfits. And believe it or not, guys like to shop for new workout clothes too. The local sporting goods store is a great place to start, but you can also shop online for activewear and other equipment.
If budget is a concern, there are likely to be thrift stores in your area that have a selection of used clothes, running shoes, dumbbells, workout bands and other gear for a fraction of retail prices.
You and your partner aren't getting any younger, and it won't be long before your kids are grown up and moving out on their own. Do your whole family a favor and make physical activity a priority. Get everyone together to get some input, pick some new activities, write them down in your schedules, set aside the distractions and go do it! Putting in more hours at the gym or the park every week is something you and your family won't regret.
And don't forget those cute new running shorts!
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