September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving health, the Greater Joliet Area YMCA encourages members of all ages to embrace a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some great tips to help your family incorporate healthy eating and regular physical activity into your fall schedules:
Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family, choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals and allow children to pour their own water. And, be sure to keep full water bottles available in the car and your children’s backpacks.
Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving.
Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.
Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, charge electronics/screens in the kitchen overnight, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).
Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night. Adults should strive for seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
If you’re looking for additional ways to keep your children active, the Y’s youth sports programs are a great way to stay fit and have fun at the same time! Registration is currently underway for the Y’s youth basketball program. Open to kids in preschool through high school, the Y’s basketball program teaches kids the fundamentals of the game and the importance of teamwork. Register today and participate in our free clinics to gear up for the upcoming basketball season!
For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life or for more information on our youth basketball program, visit www.jolietymca.org or contact the sports director at your local branch.