Health

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Karl Henry: Tips on how to get your family in shape

Family jogging for sport outdoors
Family jogging for sport outdoors
Karl Henry

Q: DO YOU have any tips for helping to get my family fit? I have decided that 2014 is the year to make the change and would appreciate any tips.

Karl says: WELL done on deciding to help your family get fit. We know that families that get healthy as a unit get better results. 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 is of little use, 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. Here are some of my favourite tips:

Let each member choose an activity

This is one of the key points that makes all the difference to any programme with families. We all like different sports so 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 range of sports that you 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

Get your children involved in cooking

I am always amazed with the lack of cooking and food knowledge that teenagers have when I do lectures in schools and with parents' associations.

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

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 sport-related item?

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. In my opinion, these games should be limited to a certain amount of time so that there is room in the day for activity.

Treat day each week

I feel that one treat day a week is important. This creates a balanced approach to weight loss and health. 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.

Try these tips with your family and I think you will find a big difference.

Q: MY New Year's resolutions are already starting to wane. Can you help?

START again and set yourself specific goals. By setting goals you will increase your chance of success by 40pc, especially if you set the right goals.

That's the important part of resolutions that so many people don't do. This method is my favourite way of identifying your true goals and the first thing you need to do is a 'brain dump':

* This simply involves getting out an A4 pad before you go to bed, and write down each and every goal that comes into your mind, it can be anything at all, just get it all down on paper. Now leave it for the night and come back to it the following morning.

* Taking a different colour pen, now circle the goals that are most important to you.

* Now write those important goals down on another page, and arrange them numerically so that you clearly see the one that is most important.

It really is that simple to make a difference as you now have your true goal, which will help to give you the right focus over the coming months.

Once you have this goal, you need to put it through the SMART process:

Specific: Is your goal clearly defined or is it quite vague? Clearly defined goals are important, the more precise the better, as you can work towards them easier. Think who, what, where, when, why and these will generally get you to a clearly defined goal quite quickly.

Measured: How are you going to track your progress? Is it a weigh-in, tape measurement, body fat measurement, run time or distance? You need to establish this so that you can track your progress reliably over the course of your training.

Achievable: Is it something that can be achieved in the timeframe you have set out? Do you need more time, or is it a longer term goal?

Realistic: This is possibly the most important. By setting realistic goals you are more likely to achieve them.

If your overall goal is a big one, then break it down into smaller, more manageable goals and you will be more likely to achieve it.

Timed: Ensure to set a timeframe for your goal, take out your diary and make time for what you need to do to achieve it.

You need to prioritise your goal in order to achieve it.

Once you have done these simple steps, then you will be ready to start working towards your goal.

Not only that, you will be ready to take on the new year, achieve your targets and unlike everybody else, ensure that those targets last all year long!

Irish Independent

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