I read somewhere that “More than 80 percent of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Similarly, more than 80 percent of adolescents do not do enough aerobic physical activity to meet the guidelines for youth.”
It goes without saying that it is important to be physically active as regular exercise improves overall health and helps to reduce risks for common health problems. The best way to achieve fitness goals for the whole family is to make them together, commit to them together, and do them together, while supporting one another.
Below are some simple steps you can use to create a family fitness program that will last:
- Call a Family Meeting:
Since this is supposed to be a family affair, everyone should be involved and invested from the beginning. Whether you are working with a trainer or not, discuss your current physical activity levels with your family. Ask each member to honestly evaluate where they stand. There are four levels of physical activity – inactive, low, medium and high. You should talk about where you want to be as a family and how you want to get there. You could also talk about healthy eating habits and how you can improve upon your current habits.
- Be Active Together Every Day:
For days when it isn’t possible to be active together, use fitness trackers to help keep each other accountable. You can even make a fun game out of it. Have a contest for the most steps, or add them up together and set a monthly goal. Reward the whole family if your goal was met.
- Plan Meals Together:
Fitness is important, but without proper nutrition, your efforts are not as effective as they could be. Extend family fitness time into family meal time.
Studies have shown that families who eat meals together promote healthy conversations, and are closer to their normal weight range. These families also have better overall dietary eating habits than those families who eat few meals together.
- Make and Keep Family Goals:
Setting specific and achievable goals is so important to making positive changes. Ask your family what goals they may have, set some together and encourage each other to work towards achieving them.