How to Get the Whole Family into a Healthy Lifestyle

Published:  02/25/2018

Make healthy living a family affair and lead your family down the path of exercise and a healthy diet.

When the whole family is more physically active together, everyone benefits from helping to maintain a healthy weight, and lowering the risks of heart disease and other serious conditions. It also helps build the family relationship and reduces stress. 

How much exercise do children need?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children get at least:

  • 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each day.
  • Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 times a week.
  • Muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening exercise 3 times a week as part of the 60 minutes

It makes it easier if everyone is on the same page as far as lifestyle is concerned. It is difficult for one to eat healthy if two or three others have fast food and junk around.

Families doing exercise and healthy eating together are going to be more supportive... doing things, having common goals for a family is very important. It helps bring the family together whatever those goals are.

Top tips for fine-tuning your entire family's well-being: 

Start by setting time aside to be physically active. Take a walk, go on a hike, do physical chores together. Plan a dance party. 

Set modest, simple health goals. Take baby steps so your cooking slowly evolves from fattening to fit. Incorporate fruits and fat-free snacks into children's diets. Also start slow with light exercise such as walking for a few minutes, a couple of times a week and gradually increase the frequency and duration.

Take a walk or play a family game of tag after dinner each night. Choose activities that require movement, such as bowling, going to the park, play catch or miniature golf. Give children toys that encourage physical activity, such as balls, kites, skateboards and jump ropes.

Get the kids involved. Let them find healthy, kid friendly recipes and help them learn how to prepare them. Kids love to make meals that involve creativity. Experiment with Spring Rolls, Taco Bowls (brown rice or quinoa, chicken, fajita vegetables, tomatoes, salsa, reduced fat sharp cheddar), Chicken and Vegetable Kebabs, and salad bar night. 

Reinforce healthy behavior. Don't get discouraged... even if your family won't eat every morsel of the healthy meal you've made. Be pleased with even the smallest progress.

Focus on motivation. Encourage your children to be more like their favorite sports idol. All professional athletes have fitness trainers and registered dietitians because optimal exercise and nutrition helps performance.

Go public. Commit to a walkathon or another event involving a large group of people. Such events are great motivators because they get you to train.

Associate health with favorite activities. Your husband loves golf and your daughter loves cheerleading? Use these loves to get them to exercise. Knowing that exercise will help them to excel at their favorite activities is a great way to get them motivated.

Exert influence, not control. Don't force exercise and healthy eating down the throats of your loved ones. They will be more inclined to change their lifestyle if they think it's their idea.

Lead by example. Be a role model. If you make healthy lifestyle changes, your family is likely to follow suit.

Make it easy for your family to be healthy. Don't obstruct attempts to be healthy. If your kids want to play soccer with the neighbors, let them. Disguise exercise by suggesting you and your children walk down the street to see what the neighbors have done to their house.

Do activities together. The family that walks together, talks together. Plan activities that will spawn healthy bodies AND healthy relationships.

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