Incorporating fitness into your daily life is one of the best investments you can make in yourself and your mental health. You can also include your children and your entire family, so you’re simultaneously investing in those critical relationships as well.
By involving your entire family in your workouts and fitness plan, you can instill the importance of health as a key value that you all share.
Your role is to help your children create the values they will carry with them throughout their lives, so why not emphasize health and wellness as part of those?
Making time for exercise, setting and meeting fitness goals, and strengthening your family life are things that you can achieve simultaneously.
The Pandemic’s Effects on Childhood Obesity and Health
Family fitness is an important topic right now.
Obesity, including childhood obesity, is a massive problem in the United States. Our nation’s kids are living sedentary lifestyles, they’re victims of the food industry’s relentless marketing campaigns, and they’ve come to view junk foods as a comfort.
With the ongoing COVID situation, the past two years have worsened many of the already-worrying trends.
People are gaining more weight than ever and taking fewer initiatives to improve their health. Kids have spent time out of school, away from their normal activities, and we’re starting to see the repercussions in very real ways.
- According to the CDC’s statistics for people between the ages of 2 and 19, body mass index (BMI) rates doubled during the pandemic compared to the period before.
- Children and young people who were overweight or obese before the pandemic and younger school-aged children experienced the biggest increases.
- More than one in six children in the U.S. is affected by obesity, impacting their long-term quality of life and health.
- Before the pandemic, the percentage of obese kids and teens was 19%. Now it’s 22%.
Young people aren’t the only ones experiencing these effects on their health.
- The American Psychological Association surveyed more than 3,000 adults.
- Sixty-one percent reported an unwanted change in their weight since March 2020, and forty-two percent said it was an unwanted gain.
- The median weight gain in the surveyed group was 15 pounds.
Obesity during childhood or even generally unhealthy habits have a range of short- and long-term effects.
- Kids who are obese or have a low activity level are more likely to have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, and problems with bone health and joint issues.
- Childhood obesity is also related to bullying, stigma, lower self-esteem, and reduced quality of life.
- Psychological problems, including anxiety and depression, are more common in children with obesity.
Strengthening Family Bonds
Exercising as a family has implications beyond health and weight. One of the best gifts you can give your family is to spend time with them. When you share activities and time well-spent with your family, it creates a sense of security and belonging for all of you.
- When families share activities, it can help kids learn social skills and boost their self-esteem.
- Having strong family bonds improves academic performance, encourages better behavior among children, and solidifies open lines of communication.
- If you’re a parent or part of a family unit, you play a vital role in protecting your family bonds and actively cultivating them.
- These things don’t always come naturally, and they require work, particularly when our lives are so busy.
You have to commit to carving out the time you’re going to spend with your family, and what better way to do that than centering at least some of this time on fitness and physical activity?
Teaching Kids to Take on Challenges Through Their Approach to Health
Getting involved in a fitness routine that affects the entire family promotes health and bonding. There are other benefits too.
Your kids will learn through taking on new challenges, and they’ll discover talents and things they’re interested in. You don’t want your kids to get into a rut of feeling like they’re afraid to try new things or learn.
Your kids need to push their limits and boundaries to be successful and grow personally, outside of their comfort zone.
When you challenge your kids through new activities, they can develop a sense of confidence. They can figure out how to be accountable for their successes and failures, and feel like they’re worthy, capable individuals.
Creating a Plan For Family Fitness
So maybe you recognize it’s time to get serious about integrating fitness with your family and your routines. What’s next?
- The first step is to set goals. Maybe your goal is simple—to spend more time together. You might also have a more specific purpose, like encouraging your kids to spend less time being sedentary.
- From there, figure out how you can start to build enduring habits that you can follow over the long term.
- Getting physically active should be challenging but also enjoyable. You want to do things that make you feel good, not miserable.
- Ask your kids or family what they’re most interested in.
- If your kids are young, sharing active play can be a good starting point. For example, you can commit to going to a local park several times a week and playing outside.
- If your kids are older, you might start a weight training program together or take a fitness class.
- Remember, your family is emulating what they see you do. Even when you don’t necessarily feel like making healthy or active choices, do it anyway. This is the example you’re setting for your kids every day. It isn’t easy to talk about health and wellness benefits when you aren’t willing to do the work yourself.
- It can take some trial and error to figure out what works for you and your entire family.
- As you’re figuring out a routine that suits all of your needs, take turns letting everyone choose a different activity they’re interested in.
- Choose activities that are well-suited to your child’s abilities and start slow.
Making Sustainable Changes
Today’s kid rarely feels their best. They spend hours engaging with video games and screens rather than experiencing the world around them. The effects are incredibly harmful.
Modern kids can be sluggish, unproductive, and generally tend to feel negative about themselves and their world.
Now is the time to change by integrating fitness with your family.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can transform your own life with personal training, strength training, or an innovative workout plan, get in touch with Fort Fitness. We’re a veteran-owned fitness center that focuses on empowerment and acting as a pillar of strength for everyone in the community.
The Fort Fitness programs are not just about how you look, they’re about WHY your fitness is important. For many people in the Fort family:
- Fitness is so you have the ability to protect your family.
- Fitness is a means of taking care of yourself so you have the chance to be around to watch your children grow up.
- Fitness is a way to set a good example for your children, so they learn the value of taking care of their bodies as they grow up.