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By now you’ve likely heard the stats on the incidence of people who are overweight or obese, and you know they’re not good. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects more than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9 percent or 78.6 million) and one in six children and adolescents. Overweight or obese is defined by having a body mass index (BMI) that is higher than what is considered healthy. Your BMI is measured by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters.
So, what can you do to help yourself and your family stay healthy and ward off unwanted extra pounds? The most important thing is to have FUN. In fact, the fun factor will go a long way toward keeping everyone entertained and enjoying what they’re doing. Research has shown that one of the biggest reason kids quit sports and stop exercising is because they’re NOT having fun. This holds true for grown ups, too. Young or old, people stay engaged longer in the things they enjoy — so keep the personalities, likes and needs of your loving brood in mind when choosing activities. A journal can be kept as a keepsake to log your family’s experiences and progress, and to note the activities you want to repeat.
Bike Riding and Produce Picking
Just minutes from downtown Portland, Sauvie Island is a great place for a fitness adventure. Pack a lunch and bring your bikes. According to sauvieisland.org, the most popular ride is the 12-mile loop around the lower end of the island, comprised of Sauvie Island Road, Reeder Road, and Gillihan Road. Stop to pick veggies, flowers or autumn pumpkins at Bella Organic or Kruger’s Farm. Tip: there are no shoulders or bike paths on the island so do be safe and exercise caution, especially with the kids. Ride single file so cars can pass easily.
Other bike trails:
Take a Hike
Put on your trail shoes or hiking boots and take the family on a woodland adventure. Pick up a book on local birds or plants and let the kids help identify what they find along the trail. You can also make a game out of counting butterflies or a particular type of plant or flower. Tip: Pack some light snacks and plenty of water for everyone. Pay attention to how far and how long you’ve been on the trail so that your family isn’t overtaxed on the return trip.
Remember those playground games you loved as a kid? Red Light/Green Light, Freeze Tag, Hide and Seek, Duck/Duck/Goose? As kids, we seldom thought about how these games helped us stay healthy or fit, but they were great for increasing our stamina, speed, balance, agility and LAUGHS. Gather your family (and friends), put on an “old school” headband and knee socks, and break out some of those recess favorites.
Fitness Game Night
Many families already use game night as a chance to reconnect and have fun together. Add a healthy spin by choosing games that encourage your family to get moving.
In the end, the fun many times comes from being creative and thinking beyond your family’s “normal.” Try something new and unexpected that your family hasn’t done before.