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Family fitness: Simple steps to success

Certified personal trainer, author and ISSA Director of Wellness John Rowley is a widely recognized fitness health and wellness expert who helps others transform their bodies and help them find their passion, purpose and drive for succes...

Start your family down the path of a healthy lifestyle so it becomes a habit as your children get older.

family riding bike

Photo credit: vgajic/Vetta/Getty Images

Family fitness is critical for a few reasons. It will give everyone in the family healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Fitness will bring the family closer, ward off sickness and allow everyone the best shot at success in life. Why success? Because success, creativity and passion require physical energy. In fact President John F. Kennedy once said, “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” So if you want everyone in your family to be a good thinker, you should encourage everyone to get exercising and stick to it.

The best way to get everyone engaged is to make it easy. Go for a walk, jog or bike ride as a family. Go hiking, swimming or play together. Yes, play. Ever see kids play? They get in one heck of a workout. Need to give your family an extra push to stay active and keep moving? Get a puppy; you will keep moving by chasing it around the yard or going on walks a few times a day. You won’t have an excuse to lounge on the couch watching movies because your puppy will need your attention and need to stay active. Whatever it takes, start your family down the path of a healthy lifestyle so it becomes a habit as your children get older.

Gyms are now an option for the family as well. Many gyms, community centers and YMCAs cater to the needs of the family based on its various ages. Mom and dad can be in the weight room while the younger ones are in the kids' exercise section, having safe, supervised healthy fun.

One issue that always tends to arise in families is how to keep healthy food in the house when everyone isn’t on the same eating program. A simple trick that I have found to be crucial is to make the healthy food visible and the unhealthy food more difficult to see. Put the healthy food at eye level in the cupboards and refrigerator, and the unhealthy foods out of sight so they are less tempting.

In today’s world, focusing on fitness isn’t an option anymore. It is critical to the health and success of every family member, and it’s important to make it a habit. Once healthy eating and fitness becomes a habit, it becomes effortless and you will feel weird eating that cookie or skipping a workout. Think about it this way; when was the last time you had to think about tying your shoes? A long time ago, I bet. Fitness can be as easy and effortless as tying your shoes if you make it your family’s habit. It is important, however, to make sure you don’t make it a chore. Have fun with it and be creative. Take advantage of winter activities that will keep you moving such as skiing and building a snowman when it is cold outside, and go for a family hike or play sports outside to enjoy the warmer weather during the summer months. The less of a chore and hassle you make working out, the more you and your family will enjoy it! Find the right plan and activities that are right for your family, stick to it and success will follow.

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