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Make Fitness and Health a Family Affair

April 01, 2011
Whether you realize it or not, you are your kids' role model for fitness and Healthy living. Showing your kids how to move more and eat healthy are great ways to be role models who inspire healthy habits.

"We truly believe a fit and healthy lifestyle starts at home — and parents or guardians need to work to be positive role models for their kids," said Eleather Baker, program director, FitCity. "We know that children aren't always making healthy choices or exercising like they should. By being a good role model, parents can make healthy choices a lifestyle. Together, we can help our children make healthy choices and habits fun and easy by involving the whole family."

As your families' fit friend, FitCity wants to share some ideas to help make fitness and health a family affair:

• Run, jog and walk at a neighborhood park. Create a family treasure hunt or an obstacle course in your backyard.

• Locate and use the free and low-cost physical activity areas near your home. Find parks, bike trails, hiking trails, tennis courts and swimming pools in your community.

• Create your own Olympic events or fitness relay races with family and friends that can be done at a park, in your neighborhood or at a community center.

• Plan a "family fitness festival" and involve the entire family. Encourage each member of the family to research games, share ideas and demonstrate their favorite activity.

• Invite your kids to bring along a friend to exercise with them. Kids — especially teens, are more likely to exercise if they have someone their own age to exercise with them.

• Choose your favorite meal or your kid's favorite meal and create ways to make it healthier. For example, use different spices and decrease the amount of salt in a recipe, or use low-fat butter or sour cream.

• Let your kids choose a new recipe, grocery shop with you and then prepare the meal with you. Kids are more likely to enjoy the meal if they helped prepare it.

• Write it and share it. For the next two weeks, have everyone in the family write down what they eat and drink. Share it with the rest of the family and learn from each other.

• Eat a rainbow. Eating a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables helps ensure you are getting the fullest range of nutrients in your diet. And if you can't eat them, drink them. Smoothies and fruit juices are great ways to drink your fruits and veggies.

• Try new healthy foods. Most children need to be offered (and see their parents eating) a new food over and over again (up to a dozen times) before it becomes familiar.

• Keep fresh fruit and vegetables washed, cut, chilled and readily available for post-exercise snacking.

Let's help our children create a lifetime of healthy and fit habits by inspiring and modeling good attitudes and behaviors toward food, nutrition and fitness. Remember, your kids look up to you — help them live active and healthy lives.

A healthy lifestyle is easier when shared with family and friends. Visit www.fitcityindy.org for more activity ideas, recipes, and a community calendar with events for the whole family. Stay connected with FitCity on Facebook (www.facebook/fitcity) and Twitter (@fitcityindy).

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Tags: In This Issue, Health, Parenting

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