By now, you probably have a long list of New Year’s resolutions for 2016. And, like many, you probably have improving the health of you and your family at the top of that list. While it’s easy to understand that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical to our physical and mental fitness; it is not always easy to make the commitment. Living a healthy lifestyle requires discipline and self-control. However, there are several small steps you can take to get the ball moving in the right direction. By making a few minor changes, you can improve your family’s health and meet your fitness goals for 2015. Listed below are the top 7 ways which are certain to improve your family’s health in the New Year and well beyond.
Exercising is one of the best ways to improve your family’s health and exercising together has the added benefit of promoting family bonding. Not only can exercise be fun but you don’t have to do it for hours on end for it to be effective. Adding as little as 20-30 minutes of activity each day to your family’s routine can help to improve both physical and mental fitness. Take the kids out for a walk or try a group bicycling adventure. If weather is an issue, challenge the family to a dance off in the living room or pop in your child’s favorite dance along DVD.
Fuel Your Tank
Nutrition can have a significant effect on both young and old alike. Adults and children who are poorly nourished lack the nutrients needed to properly fuel their bodies. This can lead to extreme exhaustion and an inability to focus on daily activities. Many behaviors, including eating routines, are learned directly from parents so strive to set a good example when possible. Eating a balanced diet including lots of fresh fruits and veggies is one way to ensure that your family is on the right track when it comes to health.
You’ve heard the saying “don’t stress about what you can’t control”. The philosophy is simple. If you are unhappy in a situation and you have the power to change it, then do so. Otherwise don’t worry yourself over scenarios which can’t be changed or will most likely never occur . Practicing positive behaviors will not only help to reduce your own stress level but will also set a good example for your child and help them stay grounded during difficult situations.
Many people don’t think of laughter as a way to improve their health but the simple act of laughing has several health benefits which include boosting the immune system and reducing stress levels. Unlike some exercise routines, it can be done anywhere and best of all it’s free! Grab the family and rent the latest comedy for family movie night or host your own open mic night in your living room and let everyone test out their comedic skills.
How many glasses of water have you had today? Chances are you are not drinking enough. Dehydration can be very serious and can cause severe headaches, dizziness, and extreme thirst. With the most serious cases requiring emergency medical treatment. To prevent dehydration, give each member of the family with their own reusable water bottle and be sure they fill it each day before leaving home, especially during warmer months when dehydration is more likely.
I realize that most children probably think that sleep is overrated but the reality is that getting enough sleep is essential to everyone’s physical and mental well-being. Be sure that each member of the family is getting a reasonable amount of sleep per night. This may be anywhere between 8-12 hours a night or more depending on the person’s age. Promote good sleeping habits by developing an evening routine which includes calming activities such as bath time and story time.
Everyone always seems to be on the go these days. Running from the office, to school, to the kid’s sports practices, then to the store, and then home to begin a whole other list of tasks and duties. Sometimes we fall into a routine and forget that we also need to take time for ourselves every now and then. Taking time off is a great way to recharge the batteries and spend some quality time with the family.
My Favorite Health/Fitness Apps
My Fitness Pal (FREE) – If you are serious about tracking your health and fitness goals then you will definitely need an app like My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal lets you track everything from your sleep schedule, your eating habits, your water intake, and your daily exercise regimen. My Fitness Pal helps you stay on track by calculating a suggested daily food intake and providing you with the information to let you know if you are under or over the limit in areas such as calories, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, etc. In addition, My Fitness Pal also has a large food database making food diary entries extremely easy. Set your goals and stay motivated to reach them with your My Fitness Pal social community. Ready, set, go!
Calm (FREE) – This is quickly becoming one of my favorite apps. This app includes your choice or relaxing backgrounds and sounds as well as a guided meditation session setting and a timer that can be used for your own Yoga or Pilates session, or just give yourself a time-out!
All Recipes (FREE) – This isn’t necessarily a health app, but this site can easily help you stay on track to meet your health and fitness goals. This site provides a huge database of healthy meals including meals for special dietary needs such as vegan, gluten-free, and peanut free. This is a great app to use to plan healthy meals or even use it to find recipes based on ingredients you already have.