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Rochester, Mich. — Jan. 14, 2014 — The relentless winter weather may be taking a toll on new year’s goals to stay active, but Erin Olsen, an exercise specialist and certified wellness practitioner with MedNetOne Health Solutions, says the key to families getting and staying healthy and active, regardless of the season, is a combination of movement and making the right food choices. As MedNetOne Health Solutions prepares for its two teen and adolescent R-Team (Reshaping thru Exercise, Attitude and Meals) programs in February, Olsen provides the following eight tips for collective family fitness and well-being:
1. Make exercise fun, not a chore. Not everyone in the family has to do the same exercise. By allowing children to have a say in what they want to do for exercise will make them feel empowered, viewing exercise as their choice. Also, because children look forward to “play dates”, such get-togethers can be turned into “exercise clubs” with their friends. Adults can set up races or obstacle courses in the snow.
2. Parents – practice what you preach. Children are more likely to try new foods, exercise and eat healthy snacks and balanced meals if they see their parents do the same. Kids look up to their parents, it is a great opportunity for parents to inspire and motivate kids to live a healthy lifestyle- show them it can be fun!
3. Get involved in meal preparation. Always make a list before grocery shopping – and have children help. Make sure the list includes vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and fruit. To help children feel a part of the process, allow them to pick one or two healthy meals or snacks for the family.
4. Make winter “comfort food” healthy. Everyone enjoys a good chili or stew in the winter months, so be sure to pack these dishes with vegetables. Try substituting pasta with an alternative option such as spaghetti squash or substitute potatoes with mashed cauliflower. Get creative; don’t be afraid to try new things!
5. Get outside, even in the winter. Winter is not an excuse to stay inside. Bundle up and head for the sledding hill, build a snow man, a fort or have a snowball war. Outdoor sports are not just for summer; try getting a neighborhood football game, soccer match, or game of tag going in the backyard.
6. Make the most out of screen time. Screen time includes video games, television, computer and sitting around in general; limit screen time to less than two hours a day when possible. To boost the value of screen time, kids and families can perform an exercise during commercials (jumping jacks, pushups, squats, crunches, walking up/down the stairs). In a 60-minute program, that can translate to 15-20 minutes of exercise. Also, use a timer to limit the amount of time spent watching TV or playing video games.
7. Get involved in events. Use your community as a resource. Look for events that may be in your local park or downtown or an area community center. Can’t find anything that appeals to you? Create your own event! Invite friends over for a scavenger hunt or look up fun interactive websites to find fitness challenges such as www.kidnetic.com.
8. Set family goals and stick to them. Try setting goals and challenges as a family. Create a pedometer challenge where each person in the family wears a pedometer from morning until night. At the end of the week, the person who has the greatest number of steps gets to pick the next family outing.
“Getting and staying active and healthy doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive – even in the winter,” said Olsen. “It’s making a lot of small changes that all add up to a big result: a healthy lifestyle! By setting schedules and goals, families are able to track their progress. And it doesn’t have to be just for the kids. Men and women should set goals, too; they will be setting an example for their kids at the same time.”
To learn more about R-TEAM and healthy tips and exercise, visit the MedNetOne Health Solutions website.
About MedNetOne Health Solutions:
MedNetOne Health Solutions (MNOHS), a leader in advancing the development and implementation of the Patient-Centered Medial Home (PCMH), is a healthcare management organization for primary and specialty care physicians and behavioral health specialists that provides administrative infrastructure and clinical support and programming to develop and sustain high performing, patient-centric practices while meeting government healthcare reform mandates. Learn more at http://www.mednetone.net.