The word January is fittingly derived from the Roman god Janus, the protector of gates and doorways. As we approach the new year and collectively scramble to brainstorm new resolutions (and remember last year’s), the theme of fitness inevitably arises.
Whether it’s a failed resolution to get six-pack abs, a successful dropping of a few pounds, or something in-between, reflecting on health and wellness feels inherently quintessential of the New Year. The new year is the perfect time for Family Fit Lifestyle Month.
The observance encourages families to adopt healthier fitness, eating, and general wellness lifestyle habits. Need convincing? Well, the general health of Americans over time has been steadily declining, as evidenced by a few alarming statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Only 24% of American adults meet the health guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
- Between 2017 and 2020, 41.9% of U.S. adults over 20 were considered obese, and 73.6% were considered overweight.
- The percentage of adults who consumed any fruit on a given day decreased from 77.2% in 1999–2000 to 64.9% in 2017–2018.
As internet access, fast food, and other factors play a role in the rising levels of unhealthiness among Americans, movements like Family Fit Lifestyle Month are actively fighting against the tide. The importance of “family” in this context cannot be overstated.
While it’s hard to commit to a healthy diet, fitness routine, and lifestyle alone, doing it as a family offloads the burden from a single individual.
Not sure how to get started? Here are two different ways to get off to a strong start.
Plan a Family Hike
Hiking has a lot of benefits, some more surprising than others. Going on a hike as a family is a great option because most information about the outing, including the difficulty, distance, and parking locations, is available online, making it easy to plan, even with kids, ahead of time.
While an adventure through the woods might conjure visions of Frodo’s journey to Mordor or Alex Honnold summiting El Capitan, in truth, hiking is simple. FTD Fresh describes the activity as “a prolonged walk that usually takes place in a natural setting, such as parks, mountains, or woods.”
So, a walk around the neighborhood park or a nearby pond also counts as a hike, so don’t sell yourself short! Of course, America is home to beautiful national parks, and some are better for walking excursions than others.
Introduce Healthy Foods
Slowly adding healthy foods like fresh greens and whole grains to the family diet is a great way to shift toward a healthier lifestyle. While replacing pizza Friday with Fengyuan eggplant Friday might cause a stir, try out a new vegetable or fruit as a side every once in a while to expose everyone to new tastes and styles.
Since organic and whole grain foods are often more expensive, starting a small family garden to grow fruits and vegetables is another option. The yield might be small, but the lessons learned from maintaining and growing a garden will blossom for years.
Another option is to visit farmer’s markets as a family. Even if you don’t purchase anything, exposure to those environments can create a new perspective on food, community, and wellness.
Every January first brings forth new resolutions, goals, and desires, but it’s still just a typical month like any other. Instead of getting wrapped up in the myriad of enticing programs, shortcuts, and fad diets that inevitably come with the new year, focus on creating a fit family lifestyle for yourself and your loved ones.