It’s Never Too Early To Set Healthy Habits

swimming-821622_1920In the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have more than doubled in kids and quadrupled in teenagers. It’s estimated more than one 1 of 10 children and teens in the United States are obese, making childhood obesity a public health concern that must be addressed. Since overweight kids are likely to be overweight adults, they’re at risk for serious health problems including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

Adults know how difficult it can be to change lifelong unhealthy habits. This is why it’s so important to start healthy habits when you’re young. Parents have the ability to influence their kids toward an active lifestyle that helps prevent weight gain.

Here are five simple ways to set your kids on the path to a lifelong commitment to physical fitness.

Turn Off the Screen

It should come as no surprise that when cable television and home computers became popular, childhood obesity rates began to soar. There’s a clear relationship between the amount of time you exercise and the number of pounds you weigh. Studies show the more television kids watch, the more likely they are to be overweight. Sitting for hours on end playing video games, texting, or watching movies sets the stage for a sedentary lifestyle.

Set limits on the amount of time your kids are allowed to spend on their screen devices. Less than two hours a day is ideal. While they may put up a fight, stand your ground. You’re doing it for their good, not to punish them.

Be a Role Model

In other words, practice what you preach. You can tell your kids all day about the benefits of exercise, but if you never break a sweat your kids won’t believe you. Set an example of what a healthy, active lifestyle looks like by heading to the gym every morning or doing bodyweight exercises in the living room in the evening. Let your kids see your commitment to fitness and the benefits it gives you and they’ll be more likely to follow in your footsteps.

Make Exercise Fun

Physical activity shouldn’t be a dreaded chore for anyone. When it’s equated with playtime, kids will look forward to moving around. Make your home and yard conducive to exercise. Send the kids outdoors to ride bikes, jump on the trampoline, or shoot hoops. If the family schedule allows, sign your kids up to join a sports team.

Be Active Together

Family time and fitness are a great combination. Enjoy being together while exercising and you’ll not only burn calories, but you’ll also create memories that last. Make it a daily or once-a-week routine. Kick the soccer ball with the kids after school, take a walk together after dinner, or go hiking, rollerblading, or ice-skating on the weekends.

Make It Competitive

This idea will work best with older kids, but any age can get involved. Why not get everyone in shape using friendly competition? Kids may find motivation to move out of a desire to beat their parents. Give each member of the family a pedometer to wear and track the number of steps taken each day. Use apps on your phones to tally the number of calories burned, the distance walked, or the number of miles ran each day. Create a spreadsheet that tracks each person’s progress. Set an end date and a prize for the winner. Then encourage each other along the way.

Source: U First Fitness

At Fresh ‘N Fit Cuisine, we agree that a healthy lifestyle involves regular physical activity and a nutritionally balanced diet. And it’s never too early to start! Our new Spring/Summer menus arrive April 25, so now is the perfect time to try out some new eating habits.

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