Researchers agree that we need to spend less time staring at a screen and more time moving around. I know that’s not always an easy task, but more time spent active and on your feet is a good habit for you and your kids to keep trying to follow. Remember how much of what you do will correspond to what your children do and end up becoming as an adult. With that in mind, here are some more reasons to make a healthy lifestyle a family activity.
Supporting each other matters.
Psychologist Kenneth Kiewra wanted to know what circumstances led 24 youths to gain national or world-class standing in a particular area of talent. Included in this group were ice skaters with Olympic medals, world-champion baton twirlers, top chess players, prizewinning musicians, a preteen author and a National Spelling Bee champion. What he found to be the common denominator between them was supportive parents willing to give up nearly anything (including mortgaging their homes and liquidating their retirement accounts) in order for their children to succeed. Despite these children clearly being born with an abundance of natural ability, their success never would have been possible without parents making sacrifices for their kids.
It’s probably not too shocking of a revelation that playing outside promotes a healthier lifestyle. Taking a few risks outdoors can cultivate creativity and resilience and improve social skills. Watching Netflix for hours on end is what I consider fun (and I’m sure you and your kids have similar equivalents), but it won’t make it any easier to have a conversation at a party or at school. If all else fails, meet somewhere in the middle and try playing an active video game together—but don’t forget about the benefits of playing outside.
Drink more water.
I know water can be boring to drink. With so many other options out there, we sometimes have to force ourselves to down a glass of water. That’s probably why over half of children and adolescents aren’t staying hydrated enough. It’s important to do this all year, but when it’s this hot outside, the chances of doing some serious damage to our bodies goes up exponentially. Even if you have to force yourself, have a few more glasses of water a day—and while you’re at it, give your kids one, too.
Remember all the repercussions of poor health habits.
The offspring of obese moms may be preprogrammed for obesity themselves at a cellular level, with children of obese parents having 30 percent more fat in the observed cells than in the cells of normal-weight parents. Poor diet and lack of physical fitness are learned behaviors that kids are likely to pick up while growing up, and if they’re already more prone to obesity, what chance do future generations really have of curing this growing problem? I don’t mean to simplify this issue, but at the end of the day, the responsibility for better health starts with all of us. Our choices now matter in the future.