Believe it or not, sometimes our greatest barriers to making successful, healthy lifestyle changes are our loved ones. The key to improving your overall health, whatever the method, is making it a part of your routine and committing to it. As we all know, life tends to get in the way of our commitments. This looks like a number of different things, many of which can manifest from living in an active and engaged family. Maybe you want to try a new diet you read about, but your spouse isn’t on board. You were going to head to the gym after work, but your child has a sports competition tonight. It is the holidays and you spent the whole day traveling and finding healthy food on the go is difficult.
Situations like this are inevitable and unavoidable. The trick to combating these setbacks is to have strategies to engage the whole family in healthy changes. Maybe instead of trying to cook every meal gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, etc., you can simply try to find one meal a week that you could improve as a family. Instead of “spaghetti night”, try out “spaghetti squash night”. Offer a variety of sauces and toppings so everyone can enjoy their own creation. It is a simple swap that gets the whole family to eat something new and healthy.
Another idea is to get the whole family engaged in physical activity, together. Here at Western, there is a wide variety of classes and programs throughout the year. Take the time to investigate them, and you might find there is something for every member of your family. Maybe lugging everyone, every day, to the gym for a workout sounds ridiculous, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Have dogs? Take them for a walk as a family. How about that old sports equipment gathering dust in the garage? Polish off the rollerblades, sports balls, tennis racquets, or whatever else might be laying around. Head for the nearest park, trail, or even your backyard. Or perhaps you could sign the whole family up for an upcoming event? There are races, obstacle courses, and many more events throughout the year, both in Green Bay and at Western, that are a great way to get moving.
In short, the weather is slowly warming up. Here in Wisconsin, we don’t have a lot of months where you won’t be at risk for frostbite or hypothermia just by being outside too long. Take advantage of any chance you have to get your family off the couch and enjoying some active, health-promoting activities. Not only will your family be physically healthier, but they will be happier and better connected to it.
ACSM Personal Trainer