Family Health & Fitness Day 2019

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Bringing Families Together in Support of a Healthy Lifestyle

If you have been thinking about getting into shape –– or at least changing the way you approach fitness –– but don’t really have much motivation to do so, then mark your calendar! The last Saturday in September is observed annually as National Family Health & Fitness Day USA. Gather your family, and even your friends, and find some physical activity you can all enjoy doing together to support and promote family involvement in physical activity, which is one of the goals of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health.

This year marks the 23rd annual celebration of this popular event, and organizations across the country will host family-related health and fitness events at local park districts, schools, hospitals, malls, health clubs and various community locations. Activities will be non-competitive in nature with a focus on fun. Events may include walking, low-impact exercises, health screenings, games and health information workshops.

It’s no secret health benefits can be obtained from moderate physical activity on a regular basis. Unfortunately, a staggering number of Americans over the age of six are not getting nearly enough exercise, and even more alarming, approximately 13.7 million children and 93.3 million adults suffer from obesity. The annual Family Health & Fitness Day USA is focused on changing those statistics with events such as physical activities, health screenings, and health workshops all over the country, helping you discover a healthier lifestyle.

While some people may argue embracing a physically active lifestyle is expensive (and yet it really doesn’t have to be), not being fit and healthy can really hit you in the pocketbook. Roughly $117 billion in healthcare costs are associated with physical inactivity and the health risks associated with that, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

The American Heart Association recommends kids ages six to 17 should get at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity and adults should aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.

Getting that physical activity every day may seem like a daunting task, but when you include your family and friends, you may soon discover just how easy and fun it can be.

Regular fitness activities can involve something as simple as a family walk or just putting on some of your favorite songs and dancing around the living room. Staying committed to a new fitness regimen can be overwhelming, so the best thing to do is schedule regular times during the week for you to be active with your family. Find something everyone enjoys and feels confident doing.

When you first declare your desire to have a regular family fitness time, prepare to be met with a few moans and groans from the crowd. That is to be expected. After all, binge watching one’s favorite show on TV can be quite addictive. This is where you have to employ a bit of creativity and imagination in order to motivate the troops off the couch and into the outdoors.

Consider using physical activity as a reward.

While many folks might not view running a few miles as a reward, you might get less resistance if you announce the family is going ice skating together or participating in a scavenger hunt in the backyard to see who can find the most “prizes.”

Take those first steps.

If you want to invest in a pedometer or some sort of fitness watch, you can track each other’s progress and see how many steps you can acquire while doing simple things around the house, such as cleaning, laundry, and cooking. You’d be surprised how much those steps add up. While making family fitness activities competitive is not the point here, this may be one situation where you can set goals for each other, but work as a team. For example, set a goal of 5,000 steps a day (less or more, depending on each individual’s level of fitness) for everyone in the family, and once that is achieved, offer a movie night at home.

Family Health & Fitness Day also includes an emphasis on the foods you eat. After a family walk, set up a tasting party in the kitchen to introduce your crew to new fruits and vegetables. Pack a variety of nutritious snacks for the week ahead together or discover a healthy and tasty meal to cook and enjoy as a family. Plan a time to go grocery shopping as a team and learn to read the nutrition labels on products and what they mean.

Make September 28, 2019 your start date to engage your family in some fun fitness habits.

On this day, visit some local parks, malls and health clubs in your community to discover some of the physical activity events they might be offering, such as dance classes, walk-a-thons, and low-impact exercise classes. Fair warning: you might get hooked on fitness and make it a part of every day, not just this day. This is a great way to continue bonding with your family while you improve your overall health and well-being.

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