Monday 20 October 2014

Karl Henry: Families should train together

Exercise is just as important as a healthy diet, and parents should lead by example

Karl Henry
Exercise is important, and parents should lead by example

Childhood obesity is sky-rocketing and at the same time knowledge of fitness, health and cooking is rapidly reducing.

We know that obese children are more likely to become obese adults, so it is seriously important to increase the amount of activity your children are doing and also teach them as much as you can about food, cooking and health in general.

In today's column I thought I would bring you some tips that we have used with clients in the past that will make a big difference to the health of your family.

1 Work as a team I feel that it's so important to work as a unit to improve the health of your family.

If your children need to lose weight then lecturing them will not be effective as they will rebel against you.

Instead a family approach where everyone is involved is often better, as you are now leading by example, showing them that you are getting involved too. It won't just improve their health, it will improve your health!

2 Let each member choose an activity This is often one of the key points that makes all the difference to any programme with families. We all like different sports and we live in a country that has an incredible amount of sports on offer, from surfing to hillwalking to mountain biking.

Every week or every month, let one person in the family choose what activity they want to do. This not only makes them happy it also exposes everyone to a whole host of sports that they would not normally do.

Staying fit for life is all about finding a sport or sports that you like to do and this is a way to ensure that you all get to try as many sports as possible

3 Get your children involved in cooking I am always amazed by the lack of cooking and food knowledge that teenagers have when I do lectures in schools.

Why not get your family involved in cooking as well, dictating one evening a week where each person cooks the meal, or shops for the ingredients or gets involved with some part of the meal?

This is essential in giving your children the life tools to cook for themselves in later life.

4 Health-based rewards We all love treats and rewards for doing good and achieving our goals. Why not make these treats health based in some way, like clothes or runners or some other sports-related item?

5 Limit computer-game time With each new computer console on the market comes some new way of online interaction that seems to increase the addictiveness of the games. This can lead to an unhealthy amount of time being spent playing the games.

If you aim to cut out every type of junk and high sugar food from your family's diet then you can be guaranteed you will face a near mutiny from your children.

Why not aim to have one day a week when you are going to have a treat day, having a different treat each time, again reinforcing the idea that fast food is okay, just in small amounts.

Irish Independent

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