Every January, you resolve to get more active and be better connected to your health, and, for many, life happens, and your plans get moved aside. But you know you will feel better, lower blood pressure, maintain healthier weight, strengthen heart and bones, and so much more if you can create sustainable routines. Therefore, making it easy to get going and keep moving will help you hit your health and movement targets and be the healthier person and family you want to be!
First – understand that every move counts. For adults, that means walking around the office, gardening, house cleaning, lifting or mowing – whatever you do as part of your day on a regular basis. For children, it may mean walking to the bus stop or school, playing in a park or backyard, doing chores and playing sports. Think about how much you are moving, and how much your family moves – could you do more?
Second – consider how you feel. How is your energy? How well are you sleeping? For children, ask the same questions – are they chronically cranky? Sleep 8+ hours per night? Getting more active can really change energy management – literally, energy creates energy! Moving more also lowers the negative energy of anxiety that impacts overall wellness and facilitates better sleep due to the energy “cost” of physical movement. Better sleep = better energy, and creates a positive feedback loop you can tap into to keep everyone on a better schedule.
Third – set the stage to move more. What do you like to do, or what would you like to try? Set yourself up for success by making it easy to get going. Headed to work? Put your sneakers in your work bag and walk at lunch or stop and walk in the park on the way home. Kids getting restless? Take a family walk! Many families have a Sunday meal together – how about a Sunday morning hike? Try 2 or 3 different places in your area to keep it fresh and enjoy different environments. Get other family members to share their ideas and give everyone a chance to lead the way! Count steps with the apps built into phones and add them up each week.
Finally – set goals and give credit for effort, versus only the result. Can you walk the neighborhood twice per week? How can you make it 3 times? Or can you walk for 10 minutes this week, and make it 15 minutes next week? Praise partners and children for the work/play and for trying – with a side of how to recover or understand that no one is an expert at any activity the first time they try it! Share your excitement about a new option or a favorite activity – that builds confidence and memories for family members, and models being adventurous and open to new ideas.
Enjoy moving toward a higher quality of life!