Everyone can benefit from more activity in their day, so here are some easy resolutions to make (and keep) this year.
According to the CDC, one in four Americans sit for eight or more hours a day. That is really, really not good — and even those of us who sit less than that still sit way more than our bodies are designed to. So if you’re ready to build a healthy foundation of movement for your kids, here are four simple resolutions you can make — and keep — as a family in 2020.
1Take a walk after dinner
In many European countries, the post-evening meal stroll is a given, as much a part of the daily routine as a morning cup of coffee. In the United States, the few hours left after the evening meal are usually devoted to dishes, homework, or television (mostly television, if we’re being honest). But we should definitely take a page out of the European playbook—walking after meals both aids in digestion and lowers blood sugar. Plus, getting your family out the door will not only cut down on screen time, but will also help curb those late-night sugar binges. Use your after-dinner walks as a time to connect, talk through your days, and just enjoy being together.
2Go for Sunday bike rides
When I was a kid, one of my favorite things was the long bike rides we would take on Sunday afternoons after church. Sometimes my parents would split up, two kids going with mom and two with dad, and take different routes back home to see who got their first. Sometimes we all stayed together and rode more slowly, telling jokes and stories. It never seemed like exercise—at least not the kind I saw on TV, with leotards and ankle weights. It just seemed fun, and taught me from a young age that being active isn’t a punishment. Take advantage of the freedom of Sunday afternoons and do whatever it is that’s fun for your family, whether it’s riding bikes, hiking, playing soccer, or throwing around a football. Just being outside as a family will not only make you healthier, it’ll strengthen your family ties as well.
3Embrace public trasportation
We live in Texas, where public transit is still a fairly new concept, but there’s a new train line connecting Dallas and Ft. Worth (along with all the little cities in between). One of my favorite things to do is take the kids to Ft. Worth on the train, then walk the city and admire all the holiday decorations or people-watch. If your city is further along in their public transit, start taking advantage of it whenever possible. Your kids will learn to navigate the city, you’ll save on gas, and you’ll all be just a little bit healthier from walking to and from the bus or train. Bonus: if your city has embraced the wonder of electric scooters (and your kids are old enough to ride them), download the Lime app and have a zippy, exhilarating adventure at the end of your train ride!
4Just go play
I’m sure your kids, like mine, ask a thousand times a day for you to play with them. Next time, say yes! Of course, you can’t always drop everything for an hour-long bike ride on weekdays, but there’s rarely a day so busy that you can’t spare five minutes. Let your kids set the timer, go outside, and play tag … It’s amazing how much five minutes of freeze tag can invigorate both you and your kids and make the rest of the day smoother and happier.
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