A long time ago, I made a conscious decision to be more active and eat healthier over the holidays. I understand that this is something that many people have trouble doing, but by making increased physical activity part of a holiday tradition, it can actually become something that the whole family looks forward to.
As Professionals in physical activity, we should look at a variety of ways to assist people in becoming more active, and the holidays actually offer all kinds of creative and fun outlets to family physical activity. My wife and I ski every Thanksgiving Day, no matter what. And after the Thanksgiving meal, we ALWAYS take a two mile walk (regardless of the time, weather, or what is on TV). We also used to participate in some neat Y programs too (Huff and Puff while you Stuff was one of our favorites), and we gently persuaded any visiting family to join in these additional activities. If shopping is part of the upcoming holiday season, try what we do; park the car “a short hike” from the mall entrance to get some extra minutes of activity towards the recommended guidelines of 150 minutes per week of moderate activity. It’s almost become a game we play to see how many different things we can do (at a moderate intensity level) that last at least 10 minutes that count towards the 150 minute guideline.
Family traditions play a crucial role in the healthy or unhealthy choices a family makes about eating and physical activity, and with the holidays just around the corner, why not choose to start some healthy traditions this year. The YMCA has a great, free resource called Healthy Family Home, available at www.ymca.net/healthyfamilyhome. Healthy Family Home outlines all kinds of simple yet effect ways families can eat healthier, be more physically active and spend more time together. No matter what your role is in encouraging or leading physical activity, you’ll find all kinds of uses for YMCA Healthy Family Home.
The tips in YMCA Healthy Family Home work year round, but trying them out around the holidays may help jumpstart some new family traditions. Other suggestions include playing a vigorous game of touch football rather than watching TV Football Half-time reports. All of the tips in Healthy Family Home focus on small, simple things, that when combined, can have a positive effect on your family’s health and well-being. Check out YMCA Healthy Family Home. What are you doing to help create healthy family traditions?
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