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A Healthy Family Is A Happy Family
In this day and age of virtual reality, voice activated gadgets, artificial intelligence, and food shows that glorify the consumption of mass quantities of fattening foods, it is no wonder we are facing an obesity epidemic in the United States.
Lets face it, as we increase in technological prowess, our willingness to utilize the most impressive biological machine (our bodies) dwindles and if medical science doesn't step in to create a viable solution, the future looks pretty grim.
Like most habits, staying physically active is something that needs to be instilled in us when we are young. If you come from a sedentary family, there is a high chance that you yourself may be more inclined to sit on the couch than go out for a walk, or even go to the store (now you don't even need to thanks to grocery delivery services!).
This inclination is not only unhealthy but potentially deadly, and can lead to a heightened risk of heart disease, stroke and depression. You owe it to your family to ensure they have the tools necessary to live a healthy and productive life while still being able to take advantage of our modern day amenities.
Below are 10 great ideas you can implement with your family immediately to start them on the right path to a healthier and happier life!
Families should try to make this a tradition, as the old adage goes, a family that eats together stays together. Outside of the physical health benefits, eating breakfast as a family also is a great way to start the day as it gives you a chance to connect before the hustle and bustle of daily life begins to take over.
Some healthy family meals that are great to cook in mass and provide a healthy boost of energy include:
1. Eggs and Toast
2. Pancakes / Waffles (Wholewheat Ideally) and Eggs
3. Oatmeal and Sliced Fruit
4. Avocado Toast (Yum!)
Walking The Dog
For my dog lovers out there, taking your best friend on a walk is probably a thoughtless routine, but if you add them up those short walks every day can add up to some serious cardio! Rather than task one person to this chore, why not bring the whole pack along and make it a family affair?
For most households, the family pet is a mutual center of affection even of other members are not seeing eye to eye (IE teenagers..). Because of this, it makes sense to center a healthy activity around everyone's best friend! Since dogs are instinctually pack animals, they will enjoy having everyone come along as well.
If your curious how much calories you can potentially burn, your looking at about 102 per half an hour of walking assuming you are 150 pounds.
Going For a Family Jog
If you don't have a pet that requires walking, that is no excuse not to just lace up the old running shoes and get your family out for a jog. If you live in the desert like me, early mornings are prime time to get out for a run and it is a great idea to get the whole family involved.
Jogging not only burns fat, but also boosts cognitive functioning and may help with depression and anxiety. When you add in the social element, the benefits become even greater as we thrive on human contact.(1)
Another great idea is to make the jogs into a friendly competition. Its a fun way to relieve stress and bring the family together through a healthy activity.
When jogging at a pace of approximately 5 mph you are apt to burn about 272 pounds (again this is assuming you weight 150 pounds)
Playing Active Video Games
One way to take advantage of modern day advances in gaming is to get your whole family involved in one that requires you to move. There are several different products in the market like Wii and Xbox Kinect that require intense body movement from your side. These games are basically a fun workout session. You and your family can have fun while losing a few calories at the same time.
Here are a list of some of the top games that require movement:
1. Just Dance 3
2. Dance Central 2
3. Nickelodeon Dance
4. Wii Fitt
Getting in the Pool
If you have a swimming pool at your home then you have hit a jackpot for organizing a healthy family activity. Try to gather all your family at the pool one afternoon and enjoy half an hour of swimming with your family. Even though swimming can sometimes get very hectic it is still a very good activity for relaxing and spending time with your family.
For some great ideas on what can be done in the pool and how many calories you can burn, check out this article.
As gas prices continue to increase and traffic becomes more of a hassle bike riding has begun to make a come back as a great way to get from point A to point B. It is a great idea to ride as a family not only for the exercise benefits, but riding in a group may also help make you more visible to drivers.
Biking with your young ones is also a great way to ensure they are well trained for when they may be on their own. By teaching them what to look out for and ensuring they understand the importance of wearing proper safety gear at a young age you are establishing potentially life saving habits.
Become a family of Gardeners
If you have a lawn at your home that needs care every week then just set a day and start a family gardening expedition. Gardening is a great outdoor activity that not only can bring the family the family together, but even raise the value of your home!
The entire family can team up and make their lawn more beautiful and awe-inspiring. Even if you don't have a green thumb, there are a multitude of upkeep tasks the family can get together and perform that will make your life easier (if you are the one designated to take care of the yard), some examples are watering the plants, mowing the grass, raking / blowing unwanted leaves and pulling weeds.
For some great ideas on how to make gardening fun for the whole family, I highly suggest you check out this article.
Making Chores Entertaining
Try to make chores as fun and entertaining as you can. Chores can be made fun by turning them into games or competitions. You can turn the mop into a microphone and sing and dance while cleaning the floor. If you have two sinks in your kitchen you can divide the dirty dishes among yourself and see who finishes cleaning them first. Having a prize at the end can make the whole experience even more enjoyable and fun.
Another great idea is to turn picking up into a scavenger hunt, by splitting it up into categories such as "toys", "Clothes", "Trash", "Dishes" etc you can easily get the whole house clean quickly while having a blast with the little ones!
Making Healthy Pacts
Families who want to stay healthy should always make healthy family pacts, Pacts might relate to things like avoiding escalators and taking stairs or perhaps walking or running to the nearby store instead of getting your car out.
Although it may seem corny, thanks to the principal of persuasion known as consistency, making family pacts actually can serve as a powerful anchor for healthy habits because we are inclined to adhere to the promises we keep publicly.
If you want to take it another step further, you can even turn it into a competition by having family members track their achievements and giving the top achiever an award. A really easy way to do this is using google drive to create a word document and share it with all the family.
Playing Sports Together
The best and one of the healthiest ways a family can spend their weekend is by playing sports together. There are so many options no matter what your living situation there is a way to mobilize the troops and get them involved in a fun and friendly competition.
Some classic favorites are:
5. Hide & Seek
Playing outdoor sports with your family can be healthier as compared to indoor games however indoor sports like table tennis can also be very beneficial for improving your family’s health.