The journey to establishing a healthy lifestyle can begin at any age. However, engaging in family fitness and overall healthy habits, while our children are growing and developing can produce long lasting effects. Such effects include improved mood, physical health and reduced stress. Also, research shows that exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes; all of which are growing trends in the adolescent population. In addition, we are fostering an attitude of self-worth, teamwork, healthy competition and an overall greater family bond.
However, in today’s fast paced world the idea of physical exercise and an overall healthy approach to life can often seem daunting. But we must get creative in carving out time for our families to move and to be healthy. These habits can include eating a balanced meal, performing daily exercise, and having a consistent sleep schedule. It also can mean quality time spent with friends and family.
Choosing to integrate these habits in my own family have proved to be beneficial. As my children were toddlers, physical activities like walking, bike riding, hiking and outdoor games were simple examples of how we were a more physically active family. As our family has grown older, we still enjoy some of these same activities. We hike, bike, and take walks in the neighborhood. We will also “shoot hoops”, throw the football or play soccer with our children. It is my hope that establishing a pattern of regular exercise with my family will foster the same ideas for them as they grow and have families of their own. This time spent with family also creates lasting memories. I can look back fondly on walks on the beach, walks in the woods and walks in our neighborhoods as time to laugh and share thoughts and feelings with each other.
So, remember that exercise does not have to be overly strenuous, but encourages physical movement which relieves stress and improves overall physical fitness. Be sure to choose activities that your family or friends enjoy doing so you can live a healthy, active and balanced lifestyle. Now get out there and get moving!
Article written by Beth Davis, DPT, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System
Beth joined Bon Secours in 2005, working at the Bon Secours Sports Medicine Clinic at Furman University. In 2013, she transitioned to St. Francis Therapy Center – Smith Therapy where she currently sees patients. To learn more, visit bonsecours.com or call 864-286-8288.