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Family Health - One STEP at a time

Updated on September 25, 2011

Finding Strength To Get Your Family Fit

I believe that individual health is very important. I also believe that family health is also very important and it can make things easier.

If you are having trouble getting inspired to get healthy, include your whole family. Don't make it a time of do's and dont's, make it fun! Enjoy each other. Take it one step at a time, always looking forward and you'll be surprised where you will take each other. Here is how we did it.

A few years ago I realized that I could no longer keep up with my children and not only was I holding them back, I was giving them a really bad role model for health. That was around the time I decided things had to change.

We started slow. Taking our dog for short walks. Nothing too strenuous, just getting outside together, and away from the tv. When we got good at that we increased our walks to a mile or so. I always chose places where we were never too far from our car in case we wanted to "bail", or I couldn't handle it. When that started getting easier we started to explore local trails in the woods. Nothing over 2-3 miles, but when the kids would stop and play on some rocks, or stop to look at something, it would give me a chance to catch my breath. We kept at it and on weekends, we would do it as a family and include Dad.

There came a time when we needed some new challenges and we altered our routine to include a bit more rigorous terrain and started hiking. When we were done, it always felt great. It feels even better to not be winded all the time.

This year we needed a new fresh goal to incorporate into our routine. We added 2 new things. The first was the beginning of an annual boy's 4,000 footer overnight backpacking trip and the second was running. My son went with his Dad and his Uncle to Mount Moriah this summer. Although it was difficult at 10 miles long, and my son realized he was at his limit with a 15 lb pack, he felt like he accomplished a great deal.

My kids wanted to sign up for Cross Country in the fall. I knew we had some training to do before it started. I also realize that I would have to run alongside them and I have always hated running because I don't like being out of breath.

They are not the best at Cross Country but we are setting aside time to practice as a family. I have told my kids that they do not have to be the best but they should try to be a little better than they were the race before. I want them to do it to better themselves, not to win. I want them to realize some of their physical goals so as an adult it will just be a part of their healthy routine.

I am by no means my optimal weight, but I can say that without a doubt that I am so much better than I was a few years a go and the quality time with my kids has been priceless. When my kids grow up and have kids, I want to be able to do things with them too.

Our journey has only begun in that we are changing our physical output. We still need to make adjustments in the foods we choose, but even that has started changing already for us.

Just remember, HAVE FUN!

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