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It’s a Family Affair: 7 Healthy Things To Do Together


Families come in all shapes and size. Mine happens to be me, my wife, two sons (15 and 13), and two twin daughters (9). However your family looks, you are living life together. While getting healthy is a personal decision, it’s a lot easier when the whole family is on board. Improving your personal fitness level will help increase your energy, strength, and keep you around longer to be with your loved ones. Often times, we find ourselves so ‘busy’ that we don’t make time for ourselves. But we should view taking 30-60 minutes to workout as an investment into our future. It’s hard to provide and be present if we are hung up in the hospital down the line. If your family happens to include children, remember, you are their biggest influence. Healthy habits you help them develop now could carry over into adulthood and make an impact on their children. Your decisions now could potentially affect generations of your family. Taking steps to improve fitness is a lot more fun when done together. It can also help bring a family together and create new positive memories. I am a personal trainer and love fitness, but my family is far from perfect. I am pretty sure my family is similar to yours if you have children. They sometimes fight, don’t listen, make messes, and want to play video games all day. I am not writing this telling you my family is doing everything right, but we are taking deliberate steps to ‘do better’ on a daily basis. This article is not only to inform you, but to also share some of my family’s personal struggles and how we are actively working to improve situations. Here are seven things that can help your family get healthier on multiple levels:

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  1. Eat Healthy Together

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It’s really difficult for one person in the family to try to make a lifestyle change with nutrition if other members of the family are eating whatever they want. A cleaner diet can benefit the entire family, even those with faster metabolisms who never seem to gain weight. Remember someone can be skinny and unhealthy. Eating better as a family starts with a running grocery list, scheduled weekly trips, and having healthy food available. If parents don’t buy the packaged processed foods, the family can’t eat it. I know from experience you will get some resistance, but having healthier options available is a great start. Try to eliminate or reduce ‘fast food’ and save restaurants as family events for the weekends. When at home, do your best to eat together as a family. Go old school and physically sit at the same table together. Sit those phones face down or better yet don’t have them at the table. Regular family dinners without distractions is a great way to connect with your loved ones and hear about what is going on in their lives.

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  1. Drink Water

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Just like with food, your family is going to drink what you buy. I encourage having less calorie-filled, sugary drinks available in your fridge. If kids get hooked on soda early in their lives, it will become something they may battle their entire lives. Drinking calories is so easy and one of the worst things we can do. Try to get your family drinking more water. Being fully hydrated will give your family more energy, strength, and help regulate weight. When you do have flavored drinks look for some with no sugar, low calories, and no artificial colors or flavors.

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  1. Workout Together

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Doing workouts together is a fun way to increase the entire family’s fitness. It’s a good introduction for just starting out, or can be an addition to your current fitness program if you’re already a gym-goer. These home sessions can be done in a living room or driveway without any traditional equipment. Here are a few tips for exercising with children of all ages:

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  • Keep it short and focused: I typically keep family workouts around 15-20 minutes. You want them to work, but not dread these sessions.
  • Focus on form: When working out with my nine-year-old girls, I don’t have them use anything but bodyweight and small household items like balls, chairs, or cans. At that age, it’s not about how hard you can push them, but teaching them how to move their bodies correctly and form. Then just do your best. It’s not going to be perfect with small kids.
  • Have fun: More than anything, make your family home workouts fun. If your kids and family enjoy this time together it’s something they will want to continue doing. I will oftentimes let my kids make up their own exercise for us all to do.

 

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Here is one short workout you can do with your entire family:

 

 

Rest Periods: Try to keep them at 60 seconds, but rest as necessary.

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Warm-up: Jog in place for 30 seconds

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Superset 1: Do these two exercises back to back without rest for one set. Do 3 sets total.

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1a. Jumping Jack Sumo Squat: 3 sets of 10 reps

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(Note: Start in the sumo squat position with legs wide and toes out. When you squat down, focus on keeping your hip down, torso upright, and knees behind the toes. Get the knees back by shifting the booty back. If possible touch the ground while at the bottom position while keeping good form. As you raise back up to the standing position reach up high with your arms. Do a jumping jack by bringing all your limbs in together at the same time and then back out. Now you are ready for the next sumo squat.)

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1b. Jog in place: 3 sets of 30 seconds.

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(Note: This is called active rest. Keep this light. Maybe not today, but eventually work towards having no real standing rest, but jog then get right back to another set.)

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Superset 2: Do these two exercises back to back without rest for one set. Do 3 sets total.

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2a. Walk Out Jump Up: 3 set of 5 reps.

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(Note: Start in a standing position. Reach down to the ground right in front of your feet. Bend your knees as necessary. Slowly walk your hands out until you are in a push-up position. This is when your hands are right under your shoulders. If you are able, do a push up here. If it’s too difficult, skip the push-up part. Then walk your hands back to right in front of your feet and jump up high. If you have bad knees or you are not ready to jump at this point just stand up. Then start the next walkout.)

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2b. Jog in place: 3 sets of 30 seconds.

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  1. Reduce TV Time

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I’m not saying to completely cut out TV.  I have my favorite shows as well. But instead of making it your go-to every night try changing things up a little. Something my family will occasionally do is take turns playing a favorite song on Alexa. Sharing songs from the past always turns out to be a good time. I heard ‘Old Town Road’ for the first time this way from my 8-year-old. But then I threw ‘Ice Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice at them. There was a lot of laughing going around. Other non-TV fun things to do before or after dinner is to play short games like Old Maid, Left Center Right, or Trivia. After dinner, our kids love playing charades. Often times we make our own theme and cards. The other night we had a ‘Stranger Things’ themed charades round. We still watch TV, but we make efforts to do other things that help the family to interact and laugh.

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  1. Play Together

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I hope your family will start working out together, but don’t stop there. There are so many other ways to be active as a unit. When it’s not crazy hot go for a family walk. My kids will sometimes ride their bikes and scooters alongside us. If it is incredibly hot in your area go to a local pool and swim it up. You can even take it digitally as most gaming systems have interactive challenge games like ‘1-2 Switch’ where you have to dance, run in place, or pretend to sword fight.

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  1. Turn Off Devices

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I am going to sounds like my parents now, but things are completely different for kids here in 2019 from when I was growing up. Nowadays phones, apps, Youtube, and Roblox are apart of life. When I was younger I remember swimming and riding my bike all day with my friends. There were no cell phones and iPads. We did love our OG Nintendo though. You know I rocked some Zelda and Metroid. This is an area my family is still working on, but it’s important to have boundaries with devices. I encourage giving kids set amounts of screen time that they have to earn or can lose with bad behavior. This also goes for the parents. Being in the fitness industry I am on my phone a lot. I have to work hard to not always have it in hand when spending time with the family. I try to have a cut off time for carrying my phone with me. Around 7 pm I sit it on the counter so I stop endlessly scrolling for no reason and spend time looking at the faces of my family.

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  1. Encourage Each Other

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The world can be a tough place. Here at home our family members should always feel safe and loved. It’s a fact of life that siblings will fight, but we don’t allow unkind talk. You know they do it anyway, but we put a stop to it immediately. Encourage your family to do activities that will help them to be healthier in body, spirit, and mind.

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-Michael Wittig, ISSA CPT

IPE Natural Pro 3x Champ

All socials: @WittigWorks

WittigWorks.com

I just released a free ‘Family Home Workout Series’ that contains detailed workouts with videos and PDF’s as well as nutrition and lifestyle guidance. Start it free HERE: https://wittigworks.wordpress.com/2019/07/28/family-home-workout-series-is-live/

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