The latest figures from the National Child Measurement Programme show that in 2014/15 over one third of 10-11 year olds and over one fifth of 4-5 year olds were either overweight or obese.
While plans and strategies to combat obesity are being developed at every level, in reality the best person to tackle the problem is YOU! Children follow by example, they do what you do, not what you say, so lead the way and get involved with them. It’s fun, they’ll love you all the more for it and moving more can only benefit you too.
Here are my top tips for a fitter family:
- Firstly prioritise yourself! Make time for your fitness and if you prefer to do classes or join a club then don’t feel guilty about spending money on it. If children see you putting exercise and good food at the top of your agenda they are more likely to grow up believing it to be a normal lifestyle and one they subscribe to in the future.
- Workout together. At home or in classes, look for opportunities to exercise with your children. If your child goes to a Saturday morning sports club make it a family fitness slot. Can you go for a run at the same time or even help run the club? Find a class you can do with your teenager, yoga and Pilates are ideal and we have many teenagers enjoying our outdoor workouts with their parents. At home you can find loads of fun online workouts, dance videos or exercise DVD’s. Even better make up your own circuit to do in the garden or set up a family Plank Challenge.
- Get Outdoors. It’s so much easier to be active outdoors. Over the weekend try to fit in at least one outdoor activity. Bike rides, walks, football on the rec with a group of friends, children love doing activities that are fun. We have a small garden but when the children were young held Swingball tournaments. Now they are older a table tennis table has been a great investment. It’s giving us hours of active fun as a family and is also perfect when the children’s friends come to visit.
- Food for thought. There’s no way round it, no matter how much exercise your children do good food is so important for their long term health. While cooking from fresh isn’t always the easiest or quickest option it’s undoubtedly the best for everyone and whatever you might think, children soon get used to the taste of real food. Involve them in the decisions over food. A friend made it clear to her children at an early age that they can’t always have their favourite food; for nutritional reasons, ease of cooking and variety sometimes they have to have food that they ‘don’t dislike’. Get children involved in the kitchen too; they are much more likely to try something they have helped cook and cooking is an essential life skill. Remember it takes 7 times of trying a food to identify if you really like something, so pursue some nutritious meals you find quick and easy.
Here are some ideas for getting active with your children
- Swingball Tournament
- Table Tennis Games or Tournament
- Fitness Treasure Hunt
- Fitness Simon Says
- Family bike ride or walk
- Garden Circuit
- Indoor Circuit
- 10 minute online HIIT workout
- Family Plank Challenge
- Obstacle Course
- Badminton in the Garden
- Games on the beach
- French Cricket
Some ideas for family friendly meals
- Chicken and bean casserole
- Spaghetti Bolognaise
- Turkey meatballs
- Pasta with salmon and pesto
We will be posting ideas for Family Fitness and Family Meal Ideas on Facebook over the coming months so keep an eye on our page.
At the end of the day your child’s biggest role model and the person most likely to shape their future physical health and wellbeing is YOU!