Family fitness: We’re in this together



Commentary by Michelle Pittman
42nd Medical Group


10/3/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. - -- Gone are the days when families would spend afternoons and weekends walking and riding bicycles outdoors. Today, it seems you must look indoors to find people, or they are usually found seated with some type of device, whether watching a television or with a game console or tablet in hand. The result of this lifestyle shift for adults and children has been a steady increase in the development of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Inactive children have decreased motor skills development; they tend to be overweight and develop sedentary lifestyle habits that can last a lifetime.

Getting the entire family involved in physical fitness promotes a healthy lifestyle. It can also help families bond as well as develop good social skills and emotional health. There are many ways to make physical activity fun, entertaining and convenient. Listed below are a few tips.

Making exercise fun will help ensure that everyone will want to continue to be involved. Here are some ideas.

· Pick a favorite location on a map; determine how many miles it would take to get there, then have family members track the amount of miles that they walk each day to see who arrives at the determined location first.

· Use exercise videos at home.

· Get involved in walks and runs taking place in your community.

Also, include all family members and try different things, such as:

· having a different family member choose the family's activities each week;

· or incorporating periodic events, like hiking, canoeing or roller skating.

Finally, develop a schedule the family will be able to follow.

Forming a routine for your family is vital to maintaining an active lifestyle and improving health and well-being. To aid this routine,

· pick the times which work for your family;

· post a visible schedule;

· and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Remember, small amounts of activity are better than no activity.
For information on family fitness, call the Health and Wellness Center at 953-7117 or email Cynthia Stewart at Cynthia.Stewart@us.af.mil.