Tag Archives: family

12 Days of Fitness 2020: Day 12 – Three Reasons Why Physical Activity Should Be a Family Routine

(This is part 12 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

The second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans was released in late 2018. The new guidelines reiterate best practices for physical activity and shed light on new research findings related to physical activity’s impact on growth and development, sleep quality, brain health and much more. Here’s the bottom line: Physical activity improves health during all stages of life and is good for the entire family. Read on for three reasons why physical activity should be a family routine.

Family Physical Activity Models Positive Health Behaviors for Children.

Developing positive physical activity habits is like any other behavior—we learn by observing. Parents are children’s first role models and have the ability to shape attitudes about physical activity. When children adopt healthy physical-activity habits, they benefit not only in youth, but as teenagers and adults. A 21-year tracking study found that high levels of physical activity between the ages of nine and 18 predicted higher levels of physical activity in adulthood. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that parents not only participate in physical activity with their children but also facilitate environments that encourage self-directed physical activity. For example, parents can place equipment such as balls and jump ropes near doors and play areas. Additionally, parents can help kids to form healthy habits by limiting screen time, focusing on enjoyment (rather than competition) and by working with school officials and other caregivers to ensure that active playtime is encouraged even when children are not at home.

Families That Move Together Build Stronger Social Bonds.

Social bonds describe the level of closeness we have with our family members, friends and other people we interact with every day such as coworkers and schoolmates. Our social ties impact several dimensions of our personal wellness, such as physical, emotional and mental well-being. Strong social ties not only affect the quality of our lives, they are linked to longer life expectancy as well. Healthy social bonds develop over time. Making physical activity a family affair can provide protected time for family members to share joys and frustrations about their day, which is important in building trust and a sense of closeness. Furthermore, when families complete an exercise or physical-activity goal together—whether running a 5K or simply taking a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood—they get to enjoy a shared sense of accomplishment. These shared experiences strengthen family social bonds.  

Families That Move Together are More Likely to Meet Physical-Activity Guidelines

Only 24% of children between the ages of 6 and 17 get the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and less than 23% of adults meet the physical-activity guidelines for aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening activities. Social support, however, has been recognized as a determinant of physical activity for decades, and can be measured in several different ways:

  • Emotional support is the act of offering empathy, concern or encouragement. This type of social support lets other people know that they are valued and that their efforts toward becoming more physically active, whether big or small, matter.
  • Tangible support occurs when goods or services are provided for another person, such as providing free childcare services for an hour so that a friend can go to the gym.
  • Informational support is the provision of guidance, advice or some other form of useful information. A qualified health and exercise professional providing a free 30-minute fitness consultation is an example of informational support.
  • Companionship support is seen when two or more individuals participate in shared social activities.

All forms of social support are beneficial in health behavior change, but a study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology revealed that companionship and emotional support are key in encouraging exercise participation. Subjects in the study who exercised with at least one partner who could provide emotional support increased both self-efficacy for exercise and frequency of exercise sessions.

If you are at the beginning of your family health and fitness journey, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Try to keep family fitness activities simple. Select activities that everyone will enjoy and ones that do not require advanced sport skills.
  • Get outside. Hiking, walking and biking are all great ideas.
  • Get behind a cause. Consider training for a local 5K or some other event tied to a cause important to your family.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

Best Wishes to You and Your Families for a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season and New Year!

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #1 – 7 Ways to Stop Overeating Forever
Day #2Sleep Facts That May Surprise You
Day #3 – Why Losing Weight Through Exercise is Hard
Day #4 – You Are Never Too Old to Exercise
Day #5 – 6 Ways to Adopting a New Habit
Day #6 – The Real Science Behind Fascia
Day #7 – 5 Ways to Improve Eating Habits Without Counting Calories

Day #8 – How Age Affects Workout Recovery
Day #9 – Fitness and Nutrition Tips From the Healthiest Countries
Day #10 – 5 Bodyweight Exercises That You Can Do Right Now
Day #11 – How Exercise May Fight Aging

A Thanksgiving Prayer

This post is a borrowed, guest post if you will from Mr. Thomas Plummer, a gentleman I respect greatly. Mr. Plummer has been in the fitness industry for over thirty years as a business coach/adviser to those of us in the fitness industry. I had saved this post last year but I wanted to share with you now and hope you find the inspiration from it as well.

My Thanksgiving prayer for you.

May you….

  • Change the world around you by the strength of your caring.
  • Forgive everyone and learn that nothing in life is worth carrying anger for even five minutes. Stupidity is their problem. Carrying anger toward stupid people is your issue. Just refuse to play.
  • Become the old crusty, crazy person in the gym who just laughs, smiles and keeps on keeping on year after year savoring every workout and living for just one more day at the gym.
  • Learn that wasting your talent might be the biggest sin there ever was. You aren’t judged by what you did, but by what you should have been.
  • Remember that your past has no hold on you and your future is yet to come, but today is everything in life and all that matters. Miserable people live in the past. Dreamers live in the future. The world is changed today.
  • Understand that if you get it right as a coach everyday, other people reach goals they never knew existed. There is no bad day as a coach, just another day carrying the world and that is a good thing.
  • Learn that you can’t carry the world until you can carry yourself. You will never be you living in someone else’s shadow.
  • Know that no one, including you, ever got to be you on his own. Remember where you came from and say thank you often.
  • Learn that cheap people suck the life out of the universe. If you want, then give. If you need help, then help others. If you have been helped, then pay it back. And buy a round now and then just to set the world on fire.
  • Remember that family is everything now and there is no one on the other end of that phone that is ever more important than 30 minutes with your family and friends. Put the phone away and live today.
  • Finally learn that money isn’t bad. Money exists for the sole purpose of giving you the freedom to live life on your own terms. There is no other reason for money.
  • Thanksgiving is a day to be gracious, thankful and humble. You have so much and others have so little. We all have problems, but ours always seem so light to carry when compared to those who have lost so much.
  • Happy Thanksgiving. I thank you all for the support and friendship for so many years. You have all allowed me to live a life beyond my imagination when I was young. I appreciate you all and wish you all a perfect Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.