My mother is the fastest walker I know. After years of hustling and bustling as a pedestrian in Philadelphia, she can easily do a mile in 8 minutes walking. Once, when visiting her from college with some of my friends, we struggled to keep up with her pace, and vowed then and there to start working out! I was reminded of my mom’s athleticism when browsing through United Healthcare’s Generation of Wellness and LiveWellAndPassItOn websites. The sites were created as a resource to encourage healthy living for African-American families.
That experience of trying to keep up with my mom’s pace has stuck with me all of these years, and has influenced some of the living well choices that I’ve made even to this day. Moms are often the primary inspiration for all that goes on in the home, and our decision to be healthy and fit can motivate the entire family to do the same. Encouraging well living doesn’t have to be difficult, though. United Healthcare’s Generation of Wellness site offers some suggestions, and you can enter for a chance to win one of several $25 gift card prizes or a Ninja Ultimate Blender Plus at LiveWellAndPassItOn until the end of April! Here are a few more simple ideas to get you started:
1. Make exercise a family affair, and make it fun!
There are so many things that you can do together as a family to stay fit. Exercising doesn’t have to be a big ordeal, either. For instance, we live in a great neighborhood with lots of hills, and Ayva and I walk them several times a week. Not only does it get our heart pumping and build our muscles, but it’s a good way to spend some quality time together. You could also go bowling, head to the playground or track to run and play together, or turn the music up and have a dance party.
2. Try new fruits and vegetables in different ways.
Obviously it’s important to eat fruits and vegetables every day in order to be healthy and live well. You can make eating well an adventure by exploring new ways to enjoy your favorite fruits and veggies. Try making smoothies or juices, or test out recipes that you find online (check out the recipes on LiveWellAndPassItOn.com) or in cookbooks. Make a goal to try at least one new fruit or vegetable every week. Make sure you head to your local farmer’s market for inexpensive, diverse offerings!
3. Let your family see you living positively well and enjoying it.
Ditch words like “diet” and negative attitudes when you’re talking about getting fit and healthy. If your family sees you excited about eating good food and exercising, it’s likely that they’ll follow suit. Find exercise activities that you enjoy, and that you’ll be pumped to do. Your family is watching! My Aunt Resa loves Jazzercise and has been doing it for over a decade. Her enthusiasm for Jazzercise has encouraged many of our family members to give it a try!
4. Be open and honest about your family’s health history.
If your family has a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other health challenges, be sure to talk about what they are with your spouse and your children. You can use this Family Health History Web Tool from the Generations of Wellness website to put all of the information in one place. Discuss what your health history means, and create a plan of action for making sure you all are doing everything you can to prevent getting sick, and to stay healthy.
I love that so many of my friends and family members are focused on living well and passing it on for the next generation. They inspire me, and in turn, I can encourage my daughter. What are some ways that you encourage your family to live well? Who encourages you to live well?