The real importance of physical fitness plans didn't become apparent to my family until some really earth shattering events opened our eyes .
-Looking around at our friends and neighbors, we really fit right in, the wife and I have the typical average of 2 1/2 children.
I don't really know where the half comes in, you can't really have half a kid, although sometimes our son does seem like he has half a .....
-Anyway, we were happily oblivious to the harm we were causing our children, and in fact to ourselves.
-Sounds silly right? Who doesn't know about the importance of physical fitness and nutrition?
... We didn't, and unfortunately we're not alone.
Our family was like most, the importance of physical fitness just wasn't apparent to us. Not because we're lazy, in fact quite the opposite, we just didn't have the time, and we get enough exercise with all the running around we do, right?
-What else were we doing?
Absolutely nothing! .... That was the problem.
We were living our lives like everyone else, our children went to school, and we went to work. On the weekends we'd sometimes head to area museums, to the movies, or go watch a local sporting event.
-The idea of actually participating in some form of physical activity never occurred to us. The importance of physical fitness for teens as well as adults, we just didn't realize how important it is ...until now.
-So you're probably wondering what happened to wake us up, right?
That was the toughest week of my life.
-I was slammed with the very serious realization; our lack of physical activity was actually harming my whole family's health
.... quite literally threatening their lives!
Diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer are all dangers related to obesity and to an overall lack of physical fitness. It doesn't matter if you're a man, woman, or child, old or young.
-The physical and medical benefits of being physically fit have to be stressed for a long and healthy life.
We're not a family that sits back and takes what life throws at us. We're fighters - it's our Irish Italian heritage!
-Standing at my wife's bedside in the hospital with my two children, the doctor looked me straight in the eye and did his best to stress the true importance of physical fitness to me.
He pulled me aside and asked me some pretty pointed questions ...
- " Do you have someone designated in your will to take care of your kids in the event you and your wife aren't around? " (That one really got me)
- " Are you willing to allow your children to get sick and possibly die young before they've even had a chance to live? "
Of course, my answer was no.
I want my children to have everything that life has to offer, and of course -I'd like to stick around a while myself to see it happen!
He told me that according to a study done by (NASPE) The National Association of Sports and Physical Education; infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical fitness activity daily and should not be sedentary (sitting on their butts in front of an x-box) for more than 60 minutes at a time, except when sleeping.
Ha! That certainly wasn't the way we lived.
Our family's favorite past time was watching television, and in fact 25% of children in the US spend 4 hours or more watching television every day. (That's not even counting the time playing video games)
-According to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, more than 65% of adults in the United States are overweight.
-16% of children in the good old U. S. of A. are overweight, and on a path heading straight for diabetes, heart disease and obesity by the time they hit the sixth grade!
Many of us rely on school physical education programs to provide the benefits of physical fitness for our children.
-The truth is, that due to budget cuts and changes in emphasis, many schools no longer require physical education programs. That puts the parents right smack dab in the middle of solving the problem.
The answer was to implement our own fitness plans. That may sound simple, in reality it was quite difficult, but the importance of physical fitness from my little talk with the doc really stuck with me.
The challenges were many:
-Finding the time for physical fitness plans.
-Picking aerobic activities that engage both children and parents alike. (You need to get those lungs and heart pumping)
-Motivating children to participate. (They don't appreciate the health benefits of fitness, only if it's fun ...so make it fun!)
-Getting the kids, (and us) off of the couch every day.
-Tracking and recording personal fitness programs with goals and objectives and a fitness log, who has time for that!
We do now!
-Adding a healthier diet into the mix without too much resistance from the clan. (A real tough one) We're used to eating take-out, which is typically high in fat and calories. Very little veggies entered our weekly diet, let alone our daily diet.
We'd need to determine all of our BMI chart numbers, and get them down if need be.
-The importance of physical fitness, good nutrition, and especially in developing fitness plans for yourself and your family really can't be overstated.
The whole idea is to take it slow and make small lifestyle changes.
-They add up quickly and before you know it you've lost ten pounds, your children are smiling (I never even knew my son could), and you've taken real steps toward improving their nutrition and their fitness.
Our Beginner Exercise Program
Our family overcame these challenges by making some easy changes to our regular routine. Eventually, these changes would become part of fitness plans that my family could start, and stay with for life.
-We began by taking a brisk walk after dinner every night around the neighborhood, about a ten-minute one to start.
Yes, this may sound like a small change and by no means enough to reverse my daughter's diabetes, however; the key to long-term change is to make these smaller lifestyle changes, so we took baby steps with our family's fitness plans.
-That small step, not only helped us to start feeling healthier and more energetic, but it also brought us much closer together as a family.
Before we knew it, that 10-minute walk was up to half an hour!
Soon my children were riding their bikes around the neighborhood and to school most days, and my wife even joined a local gym.
-She even started going skiing with our daughter!
I decided to take a kickboxing class with a co-worker and I'm working my way toward an orange belt.
-It's not an over-night cure, but the true importance of physical fitness, not to mention the many health benefits of fitness plans, make them well worth doing.
Set small goals, they'll help you achieve larger long-term goals, and better health for you and your family can be just around the corner.
-The importance of physical fitness is critical for a long healthy life
...and a happy one too, there's no ifs, ands, or butts about it!
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