Did you know that Sept. 30 is Family Health and Fitness Day? In a world that often feels like a whirlwind of screens, fast food and sedentary habits, this is a golden opportunity to focus on staying healthy as a family.
Activity benefits and goals
If you have young kids at home, being active together teaches them that we should take care of our bodies throughout our lifetime. Exercise can prevent several chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Being active can also improve your mood and energy level.
Here are some activity goals:
- Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.
- Kids over age 6 need at least 60 minutes of moderate activity each day.
- Children ages 3-5 should be given opportunities to stay active throughout the day.
Eating is also incredibly important. Improve your health and fuel your family fun with these healthy-eating tips:
- Eat meals and snacks throughout the day and avoid prolonged periods without food. Eating more frequently will provide you with the energy you need during activity. If you plan to be active for more than an hour, consider packing a healthy snack to keep your body fueled.
- Keep pre-cut fruits and vegetables handy. This way, you can easily add them to meals or choose them for snacks. The vitamins and minerals found in fruits and veggies provide essential nutrients to improve your performance, help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight and prevent chronic diseases.
- Eat a protein-rich food with meals to support your muscles. Protein helps to build muscle and repair tissues after being active. Meat, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, eggs and dairy are all great sources of protein.
- Stay hydrated by drinking low- or no-calorie beverages like water, unsweetened tea or sparkling water. Experiment with flavoring water with cucumbers, strawberries, mint or lemon. Limit high-calorie, sugar-loaded beverages like pop, sweetened tea and lemonade.
- In the spirit of family health, consider setting a side at least one meal each week to eat as a family at the table. Family meals provide many benefits such as a healthier diet, lower risks of obesity and depression, better grades in school and reduced disordered eating behaviors.
Family Health and Fitness Day shouldn’t just be one day; we should aim to be active and eat well as a family every day. So, get out there and improve your health as a family!
Tara Fouts is a dietitian at St. Luke’s.