National Family and Health Fitness day is observed annually on the last Saturday of September, this year on September 30. Experts from the YMCA and Southdale Pediatrics share some tips to celebrate this day by being healthy as a family.
Jennifer Menk, senior director of health and well-being at the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, explains that doing activities as a family helps people be healthy. “People thrive with the acceptance and community built in a team, and what better team than your family?” she says. Family members can take turns picking activities for the family to enjoy, such as hiking, biking, playing ball or even an interactive board game.
Lori Skallerud M.D. from Southdale Pediatric Associates, encourages families to look at inexpensive options for activity. She suggests a family walk after dinner or creating a scavenger hunt around the yard. “As the weather gets cooler and families start to move indoors more, I encourage them to be creative and create obstacle courses with couch cushions, chairs and other items found around the house,” she says. “Have a family dance party—kids love to see their parents being silly and having fun.”
“Mealtime is a great opportunity to come together,” she says. “Have each member of your family pick a meal they love, and master a healthy, tasty version of each.”
Start each morning with 10 extra minutes to serve a warm breakfast to children. Skallerud says, “I recommend that families limit hot lunch at school to one day per week and for those families who can afford it, pack a lunch on the other days.”
Menk says to cut screen time by replacing it with family activities. Make the TV room a “no-eating zone” so children do not eat mindlessly.
Consider granting weekend screen time for doing chores and reading during the week.