9 Ways to Make Healthy Living Fun for the Family

They have great attitudes and goals. How did they get there?

Active families make healthy living look not only easy but fun. It's easy to believe they never fight with their kids about screen time or skip a workout so they can marathon a Netflix series instead. But moms, dads, and kids in active families face these temptations and dilemmas just like everyone else. And they have the same time constraints too. But they find ways to make health and fitness a priority anyway. And so can we, once we know their secrets!


Active Families Play Outside

Active families - Father and daughter canoeing
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Fresh air lifts spirits, and it definitely gets bodies moving. So fit families regularly spend time outdoors (and they don't let the weather get in the way if they can possibly help it). If you're not there yet, start small: by taking short walks, playing in your yard or visiting a playground—local parks are a great resource! Work up to longer distances for your walks and bike rides, and trying new sports. Maybe someday you'll compete in a family adventure race together!


Active Families Make It Fun

It's a lot easier to be active when you're having fun with it. Be that family that wears matching tutus to a fundraising walk or hosts a relay race tournament in the backyard. Don't be afraid to play goofy games with your kids or dance to loud music together. Check out adventure parks, trampoline gyms, and laser tag for more laugh-out-loud exercise you can all share.


Active Families Have Role Models

Parents in sporty families set the tone by making healthy choices and showing their children the value of exercise by example. But these active parents also have role models of their own. Maybe they have a sibling or friend who excels at a sport or a teacher or coach they admire. Or maybe they're inspired by a neighbor who laces up her shoes for a walk every day, rain or shine. She may not be fast, but she's dedicated, and that means a lot.


Active Families Try New Things

You don't know whether you'll like something until you try, and fit families aren't afraid to try, thanks to their physical confidence. There are two parts to this one: Being exposed to lots of sports and physical activities and being willing to try them. So when your child asks to take a new dance class, or your friend invites you to bike a new trail say yes. One of you might find a favorite workout. Remember that almost any sports activity or program will have a "try-it" option, like a free first class, a one-day workshop for interested newbies, and so on. They want new participants, so they'll help you get started.


Active Families Share Meals

Shared family meals tend to be promoted as the solution to every modern problem, from childhood obesity to substance abuse. And while the shared meal is not a miracle cure, it really can help families eat better, communicate better, and bond better. So fit families strive to eat together whenever they can, even if it's for breakfast instead of dinner.


Active Families Do It Together

Which kids are more likely to be active: The ones whose parents cheer them on from the comfort of the couch, or the ones whose mom and dad jump up and play with them? Encourage activity by challenging each other to meet a fitness goal, taking a Sunday afternoon hike, or even playing a board game—the specifics aren't as important as doing it together.


Active Families Are Smart About Screens

You probably saw this one coming. While a family movie night can be a cuddly way to relax and connect, too much screen time robs your family of opportunities to play actively and enjoy each other's company. So it's important to set limits. However, savvy parents also know that there are ways to use screen time to their advantage, as a way to actually prompt physical activity.


Active Families Travel With Snacks

If you're all busy moving a lot, you'll get hungry. But eating healthy when you're away from home usually means bringing your own; you won't get the most nutritious options from a vending machine, drive-through, or concession stand. Fit families pack nutritious, filling, tasty snacks so they'll be ready when hunger strikes.


Active Families Think Like Exercisers

Instead of looking for reasons not to exercise, fit families are always looking for opportunities to exercise (and other ways to be active as part of their daily routine). This isn't always easy because to succeed, you need to shift your perspective: on time, on perfection, on motivation. But if you, as a parent, can achieve this change in outlook, you can pass it on to your kids.

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