Welcome in an Active 2019

Welcome to 2019! With a new year comes a new opportunity for a fresh start, new goals and resolutions for yourself and for your family. What do you hope to accomplish this year? Do you hope to be in a different place emotionally, financially, physically?

Given that our body and mind are closely connected I’m going to focus this year’s January blog on resolutions for physical activity and health. For example, did you know that poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of depression?

Let’s revisit the idea of goal setting and guidelines for success. First, identify what it is you want- specifically (ie. I want to get at least 25 minutes of physical activity 5 times per week). Next, assess what you think is realistic and manageable given your current life situation and time constraints.

Last, identify what steps will need to be taken to make this goal achievable (making sure you have childcare certain hours, blocking off your lunch hour for that walk etc.).

Now that you’re ready to set your goal, here are 5 ideas for getting your family moving this year towards better overall physical and mental health:

  1. Making exercise fun! Especially in the cooler months getting your family outside and moving can be difficult. Consider purchasing a few family friendly games that will get the kids involved and motivated to go outside. Check out bocce ball, ladder ball or even a Frisbee. Involve the kids in the selection progress at your local sports store to see what would get their buy-in.
  2. Try to shoot for either before or after dinner walks a few times per week. If you have a dog, this is also a great time to engage your child in getting used to the responsibility of walking and caring for an animal. Walks can be an amazing time to connect about your child’s day without seeming too intrusive. The walk somehow can take the pressure and focus off your child leading to deeper and more natural conversations.
  3. Crank up that music and have a dance party! While cooking dinner, tidying up or getting ready in the morning try turning on music that you know can get you and the kids moving. What a great opportunity to get silly and remind your kids that activity can be fun. No streamers or disco balls necessary.
  4. Try downloading and app on your phone that tracks steps and movement. Maybe set a weekly family goal- maybe the winner earns a small prize at the end of the week?
  5. Consider getting the kids involved in interactive outdoor activities like gardening. Especially in spring it can be a fun activity to pick out flowers and let kids have practice planting and helping to decide what goes where. Did you know the act of planting is also a mindful one and can be incredibly regulating?

Don’t forget to place a visual reminder of your goal so that you see it daily (on your bathroom mirror, in your car, a digital calendar reminder etc.). Happy New Year!

By Caitlyn Valle, LMFT