Fitness Inspiration for Family Wellness Month 

10-Minute Activities for Staying Fit Together

By Director of Product Development and Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

If it hasn’t popped up on your calendar, let me be the first to wish you a Happy Family Wellness Month! May is the official month for celebrating family wellness, but as a mom and the gate-keeper of my family’s health, it’s another one of those tabs that is open in my brain EVERY DAY, not just one month out of the year. 

Balancing Act of Family Health

There is a continuous balancing act to make sure that everyone’s physical needs are met and that their bodies are healthy, without losing sight of their social, emotional, and spiritual health! Sheesh! No wonder parents are tired! Meeting all those needs is genuinely overwhelming some days.

Spending Time Together

Family wellness is so much more than putting nutritious meals on the table and setting limits on screen time. It is also about family habits, lifestyles, and relationships! Our hectic lifestyles don’t exactly foster family wellness and certainly interfere with quality family time, which has been shown to improve behavior and academic performance, build self-esteem, encourage communication skills, and reinforce healthy habits. Seems pretty obvious how important family time is, but several recent studies have suggested that the average American family spends only about 30-40 minutes each day truly engaged with each other. When I really think about it, that statistic is probably very representative of our family. 

Making Good Health a Family Value

If you are anything like me, you might be feeling a bit of “mom guilt” and anxiety when you think about all of the things we should be doing as a family. Honestly, my head is spinning a little bit just trying to figure out how to start. Just like any other lifestyle change, the trick is to start slow. If you were starting a new fitness routine, I would suggest starting with 10 minutes, so why not apply that same strategy to family wellness? 

I’m pretty sure we can all carve out an extra 10 minutes of family time each day to build connections, but if your kids aren’t into just sitting around for 10 minutes of conversation, here are a few activities that will get everybody involved:

  • Plan and prepare simple meals or snacks together – scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, PB&J 
  • Look through family photo albums together or watch family videos
  • Volunteer or do a service project together – walk dogs at the animal shelter, help a neighbor with yardwork
  • Test a new Reliv shake recipe together or make up your own – it’s ok to add a few chocolate chips or some sprinkles!
  • Plant and grow something together – flowers, vegetables, herbs
  • Make up “conversation cards” with fun, open-ended questions that everybody can answer – e.g.,  if you were an animal, what would you be and why? If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  • Move together – walk, jump rope, play tag, hide and seek, dance, or play follow-the-leader
  • Plan a scavenger hunt or play “I spy” around your home or neighborhood
  • Read an article together, taking turns reading out loud and then discuss 
  • Play a board game or active video game
  • Build a house of cards or line up dominoes
  • Work on a jigsaw puzzle together while taking turns picking the music you listen to
  • Send out birthday cards or write letters to family members

The possibilities for finding fun and creative ways to spend time together are endless. In addition to making memories that will last a lifetime, you’re also showing your love for your family. Another way you can show your family you love them is to make sure they’re getting the best of nutrition and immune support with Reliv core nutrition! Whether you’re blending up a shake for your kids, or staying hydrated while playing outdoors, feeding your family with optimal nutrition is a great way to say, “I love you!” 

Epigenetics: All in the Family

By Director of Product Development & Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

Nature and Nurture

Everyone has genetic predispositions, those things that “run in the family.” For many, this is a list of conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Sound familiar? Epigenetics brings a positive perspective to the fear and uncertainty that comes from checking all those boxes on a health history form. We now know that healthy lifestyle choices have the power to influence and even override our faulty genetic codes.

Families pass on both DNA and lifestyle habits that serve as epigenetic signals to that DNA. Nutritional choices, exercise, stress management and environmental exposures all influence whether genes get turned on or remain silent. While epigenetic marks are reversible (e.g. activated genes can be deactivated), healthy habits that start early in life can prevent negative genes from ever being activated in the first place.

The Earlier, the Better

Child development experts and medical professionals agree that healthy lifestyle habits are learned behaviors most strongly influenced by the family. Researchers also concur that nutritional habits established in infancy and childhood set the stage for a lifetime of dietary patterns.

A recent CDC report, for example, highlights the importance of eating practices in the first year of life. When children drink sugar-sweetened beverages during the first 12 months, this doubles the odds they will drink those beverages at age six. And limited fruit and vegetable consumption in the first year leads to limited fruits and vegetables at age six.

Nature and Nurture

Dietary preferences aren’t the only behaviors from home that carry over into adulthood with lingering epigenetic effects. Stress management, sleep patterns, and exercise are all influenced by family culture.

Work, social activities, media, and electronics compete for time that could be spent planning and preparing meals, engaging in physical activity or getting sufficient rest. Parents today work an average of three hours more per week than they did in the 1960s. That can mean the difference between home-cooked meals and visits to the drive-thru.

The American Academy of Pediatrics report, titled “Children, Adolescents, Obesity and the Media,” states: “American society couldn’t do a worse job at the moment of keeping children fit and healthy — too much TV, too many food ads, not enough exercise and not enough sleep.”

Top 10 Family Health Tips

Raising healthy kids today can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. But it can be done! It all starts when you embrace health as a family.

1) Be a good role model. You don’t have to be perfect, but if kids see you trying to eat right and exercise, they will take notice.

2) Get the family moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and time together.

3) Limit TV, video games and computer time. These habits encourage a sedentary lifestyle and contribute to excessive snacking.

4) Encourage physical activities that they enjoy. Let your child experience different activities. Be creative and incorporate exercise into everyday situations.

5) Pick truly rewarding rewards. Resist the urge to reward kids with TV, video games, candy or snacks.

6) Make dinnertime a family time. Get your kids involved in cooking and planning meals. No TV or portable media devices during dinner (that includes YOUR phone).

7) Make a game of reading food labels. The whole family will become more conscious of what they eat — a habit that can change behavior for a lifetime.

8) Make healthy food choices easy. Save countertops, front-of-fridge and lower shelves for fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks. Provide a variety of choices. You might be surprised at what they like!

9) Limit sugary beverages. Beware of sugar-laden drinks marketed as juice beverages. Check the ingredient labels and serving sizes.

10) Stay involved. Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school and other social settings.

Healthy families don’t happen overnight, so set realistic goals when adopting new behaviors. Pick one strategy and allow time for kids to adjust. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in your health over time and in the health of your kids over their lifetime!

Give Your Kids a Healthy Head Start

Optimal nutrition promotes healthy growth, cognitive development and strong immunity during childhood — and reduces the risk of health problems later in life. Reliv Now® for Kids is specially formulated to provide the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients growing bodies need to thrive, plus advanced ingredients for added benefits:

LunaRich®: Reliv’s exclusive epigenetic superfood proven to support innate immunity and overall cellular health.

DHA: omega-3 fatty acid critical for development and function of the brain, eyes and central nervous system.

PS and PC: (phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine) natural compounds that support healthy cellular development, mental clarity, memory, learning, and cognitive function.

Grape Seed Extract: a powerful antioxidant that protects against cell-destroying free radicals.

Get Fit as a Family

SubscribeButton-webFamilyFitnessimageIf you’ve noticed that the kids have become TV watching zombies, your spouse is permanently connected to a smartphone and even the dog has gotten too lazy to chase rabbits, it’s time to get fit as a family! Continue reading “Get Fit as a Family”