New Year's Resolutions for Family Fitness and Health

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New Year's resolutions about health, and especially about diet and weight loss, must be the most common vows made each January 1. Is your family among those resolving to make some healthy changes this new year?

For best success, choose just a few resolutions, and make them specific and manageable.

In other words, "sign up for Spinning class on Tuesdays and Thursdays and attend regularly" works better than "work out every single day." Try these suggested resolutions, adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the YMCA of the USA.

New Year's Resolutions for Kids

  • I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing, or riding my bike) that I like, and do it at least three times a week.
  • I will always wear a helmet whenever I'm on my bike or skateboard.
  • I will drink milk and water and limit soda and fruit drinks.
  • I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I'm playing sports.
  • I will walk or bike to school when it's safe to do so.

New Year's Resolutions for Teens

  • I will eat at least one fruit and one vegetable every day, and I will limit the amount of soda I drink.
  • I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition.
  • I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day, at the most, on these activities.
  • When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
  • I will get plenty of sleep each night so that I am rested and ready to learn each day.

New Year's Resolutions for Adults

  • I will make sure my children wear helmets and other appropriate sports safety gear.
  • I will provide foods from several food groups at each meal. I will emphasize foods that are less processed, such as whole-grain bread and cereals and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • I will try to find a sport or an activity that I like and do it at least three times a week.
  • I will think in small steps. If I start an exercise program, I will focus first on adopting the habit. When I attain my first goal, I will set the next one and raise the bar when I am ready.
  • I will avoid using food as a reward for myself and my family.

New Year's Resolutions for Families

  • We will eat fast food one less time each month.
  • We will add at least one fresh fruit snack to our daily routine.
  • We will switch to whole-grain bread, pasta, and cereals.
  • We will have a family "pantry raid," reading labels and removing foods that don't fit in a healthy eating plan (those high in sugar, trans fats, or high fructose corn syrup). Then we will shop together to restock with healthy foods.
  • We will spend 30 minutes outside playing together as often as possible, regardless of the weather.
  • We will find a place that provides opportunities for the entire family to be physically active together or offers child care and after-school or teen programs.
  • We will add a physical activity or playtime to the calendar. We will schedule an evening walk, fitness class, or soccer games for kids with the same commitment as other important meetings.
  • We will pick a fun run/walk or 5K a few months away, sign up, train as a family and participate in it together.
  • We will share a meal (whether it's dinner or breakfast) together most days of the week.
  • We will plan an active family vacation this year.

Good luck and happy new year!

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