"According to the US Health Department, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years, with close to 20% of children considered to be obese," warns Lynda Lippin, Fitness & Pilates expert. Here are the steps to take to ensure that your family doesn't fall onto the wrong side of the statistics.
You will always be your child's most important role model, so family exercise begins with you. "The best way to motivate children to engage in physical activity is for the parents to set the example and engage in physical activity themselves," explains Dr. Michael Applebaum, M.D., J.D., FCLM. Don't just tell your family to exercise, be the first one on your feet!
Everyone in your family will have their own exercising style, ranging from independent to team-oriented, from contact sports to individual-focused. By engaging your family in exercise that fits their preferences, whether it's dance class or yoga, golf lessons or tennis, you will increase the likelihood that you'll keep your family exercising.
Exercising with your kids is good for your health as well as major family time. "Children naturally want to move and more than anything they want to spend time with you," advises personal trainer Kelli Calabrese. "As a family you can join a class together such as martial arts, which teaches discipline, self-defense and total body conditioning."
Family exercise doesn't have to mean going to the gym. When you and your family jump rope, bounce on a trampoline or swim in the pool you'll be exercising with your kids and having fun. Normal, healthy activities can include riding bikes, romping around a playground chasing the kids in hide and seek, or even tossing around the Frisbee. When fitness is disguised as fun, you'll receive less resistance.
If you are a working parent, it is likely that your family uses childcare. The good news is that in a study by Nannies4hire.com and Care4hire.com, "surveys of nannies and babysitters in 2009 and 2010 show that children who have nannies or babysitters fare far better than the national average for activity level," says Candi Wingate, President of Nannies4Hire. So, get your caregiver in on your fitness plan and encourage physical activities.
To up the likelihood that your family will stay involved in your family exercise plans, let each family member take turns choosing the physical activity each time. This way, you can ensure that your New Year's resolution to get your family exercising all year long will be one you can all keep!
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