Healthy Habits Last a Lifetime

Published: 17th November 2006
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Starting a family fitness routine is a great way to set up your kids with a lifetime love of fitness and exercise, not to mention that it's good for your health and waistline as well. Although most of us know the importance of exercise and physical fitness, life often gets in the way and exercise is often the last thing on your mind.

However, it doesn't have to be difficult to get your family up and moving. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you start your family fitness routine.

If you have young children often visiting the local playground is enough to get them active and moving. Activities such as monkey bars and playing tag develop a child's strength, speed and agility; things like biking and rollerblading are great aerobic exercises. Parents may also want to consider a ?Mommy and Me? class to get the two of you moving together ? and provide some bonding time as well!

As your child ages and becomes a teenager, the tendency to be even more sedentary exists. Encourage your child to participate in team sports, but allow him or her to choose what activities to participate in. If your teen is self-conscious about participating in team sports, encourage them to work out with exercise videos. Parents may also want to make rules about how many hours per day their children can watch television, use the computer, or play video games.

Parents also need to be aware that your children will follow your lead. Try making small changes to your own routine like taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, or getting outside on your lunch hour and taking a brisk walk. At home, plan activities that the entire family can do together instead of sitting in front of the television.

Family activities don't have to be limited to conventional team sports like basketball or football: expand your horizons! Try things like soccer, going for a hike, or rollerblading. Consider having a family ?game night? and play a game of Twister! Games like ?Capture the Flag? or ?Duck, Duck, Goose!? are fun and easy to involve the kids in. Don't be afraid of acting silly Mom!

Get up, get moving, get outside and have fun with your kids! Not only will you be teaching them powerful lessons about the importance of physical activity, you'll reap health benefits yourself, and strengthen your bonds with your kids.

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