As our country starts to open up again, many parents are returning to work and kids are heading back to school. The fall semester is likely to be a blend of virtual and in-class sessions, so some of the activities that help keep our children fit will be on hold.
The sports we’re used to doing and seeing won’t look the same this year. That’s why families need to develop their own routines to keep everyone fit and healthy. So here are a few tips to create some healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Parents set an example. Eat the right stuff - prepare nutritious meals and watch your children be more positive about healthy foods. Choose fresh vegetables, high protein/low-fat selections, and avoid processed high sodium foods and sugary drinks. Put low-calorie dressing on your salad. Watch the amount of butter on your bread and bake, grill or broil meats and fish, instead of frying. Fruit is a great alternative to traditional desserts, but if you’re craving a brownie or cookies, limit those treats to once a day. And try not to eat after 6:30pm, so your food has time to metabolize before you go to bed. Get your kids involved in meal planning; buy-in is always a great way to get everyone in the groove.
- Get out and play: make burning calories fun. Explore new neighborhoods with family bike rides. Find a trail and look for unusual plants and trees. Play a pickup soccer or basketball game. Take a walk and look at the stars. Making exercise a routine after dinner will also burn calories and make everyone sleep better.
Speaking of sleep, try to get at least 8 hours a night. Most of us don’t, but when we do, our bodies know the difference. And if we’re not getting the rest we should, it can lead to diabetes and other serious problems. Our joints and muscles also need to chill out and rejuvenate, so we don’t put ourselves at higher risk for injuries.
- Limit screen time on phones, tablets, and TV’s. Those bright screens take a toll on our eyes and our brains. When we stay up late surfing or texting, we’re jeopardizing the REM sleep, which is critical for processing and storing information.
Drink more water. You know when you wake up with that dry mouth, you’re dehydrated. So get on track early in the morning and drink as much water as your body needs. How much water depends on your weight, level of exercise, and the environment. Eight glasses a day is a common number you’ve probably already heard (that’s 64 ounces). It’s not a bad baseline, but a 200-pound man would need about double that amount, to keep his body functioning at peak capacity. Make tracking your water intake easy, with an insulated stainless steel bluetooth smart water bottle that does all the work for you, making every sip count.
- Make memorable moments: spend more time talking and building relationships. Look for opportunities to give back as a family, so your children see the value helping others or working to clean up a local river.
- Find ways to reward yourselves for pursuing this healthier life. A date night, tickets to the ballgame or a movie are some of the fun ways you can bond and enjoy the best in one another.
Get healthy and happy, with habits you’ll love.