Healthy Families

Make Exercise a Family Affair

Make Exercise a Family Affair

Family Focus: Make Exercise A Family Affair
By Annie Yager

Remember when family activities seemed to be a bit more, well...active! Running around the park all day, swimming and the occasional game of "tag" gave kids and parents plenty of exercise, naturally. Today, on average, the American youth watches television over 1,500 hours per year. We talked in the last Family Focus about the fact that because so much of our time is spent on the computer, watching television, texting or on the phone; that family togetherness has fallen by the wayside. But our families are not only growing out of touch, we're getting out of shape! Another very real result of this plugged-in lifestyle is that we're not leaving any time in our day to exercise. A majority of Americans are overweight-nearly 70 percent--with an increasing number categorized as obese; the fastest growing in that segment is children. We learned in the ‘Ask the Pediatrician' feature earlier in this issue of Healthy Life; an active body is vital to an active brain., so, if exercise can help us in so many ways, we should make it part of our family routine. What are some ways that you can get your family moving, but still make it fun?
• Make Birthdays Active! Plan a family ski/ snow tubing trip or even visit a nearby zoo. Basketball hoops in the driveway always make for an exciting gift, badminton for the back yard or the perfect gift for every family member: a bicycle!
• Walk the Dog. Take the whole clan when you walk the dog every day. It's not only beneficial for your furry friend but you and the family will spend some quality time together, and get some exercise too!
• Get to the Playground. Working out doesn't have to mean weight lifting or running on a treadmill. Take the kids to the playground, swing on the bars, climb the slides, have a tug-of-war. There's your workout.
• Plant a Garden. Who knew a garden could be beneficial for the whole family? Get everyone involved; the digging, planting and weeding is a great form of hidden exercise. Not to mention, the fruits and vegetables you grow will help keep your family healthy too!
So whether it's getting out for an occasional walk in the park or planting a garden with your family, make a point to get the whole family moving, and do it together! And remember, make it fun for everyone.