The ABCs of Family Health (Part 1)

The ABCs of Family Health (Part 1)


There’s no doubt about it. We are a nation of couch potatoes—and tater tots. Families spend more time in cars, on couches and at computers than ever before. So it’s no wonder that more adults and children are overweight than ever before.

The key to a healthy weight is to aim for fitness—by combining an active lifestyle with delicious nutrition. By making healthy choices, your family can feel better, look better and be healthier every day.

The good news is that everyday fitness is a lot easier than you think. Even small “sparks” of physical activity can make a big difference in your family’s health, weight and overall attitude. The Illinois Nutrition Education and Training Program offers these tips:

Aim for Fitness.

1. Aim for fun activities. Change the “E” word from exercise to enjoyment. Choose fun activities—dancing to your favorite tunes, biking as a family, or playing active games (inside or outside). Find activities that everyone enjoys, and nobody will have to worry about exercising.

2. Aim for a total of 30 to 60 minutes of activity. The overall goal is to spend more time moving and less time sitting. Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, at least 10 minutes at a time, at least five days a week. For optimal health, kids need a total of about 60 minutes a day.

3. Aim for family activities. Hide the TV remote, unglue your family from the couch, and head out the door to skip down the sidewalk or play in the park. By turning family time into active time, you can get fitter and be closer at the same time. (P.S.: Don’t forget to take the dog!)

4. Aim for daily activity. Look for ways to be active every day—like using legs for transportation. Walking is great for both kids and adults—so walk to school, walk to the park, walk from store to store in the mall, or walk to the supermarket with a backpack.

5. Aim for safe activities. Remember to make all physical activities, safe activities. Make sure that everyone has comfortable shoes that are right for the activity. Add sunscreen and hats when you are in the sun. Wear well-fitting helmets for biking, rollerblading or riding scooters.

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