Marketing: A Powerful Force
Families are inundated with powerful and noisy advertisements in the fields of health and fitness, many suggesting get-fit-quick products. Fitness and sports marketing may lead us to believe we can get six-pack abs through a new exercise device or that a certain pair of shoes will make us play like the pros... if only that were true!
As effective as these ads may be, they often leave the customer disappointed and frustrated with the results, or lack thereof. In addition to quick-fix disappointments, we constantly see ads for junk food via TV, radio, billboards, Internet, etc. Everywhere we look, there is temptation and the lure of a quick, family-pleasing meal.
How can families combat the marketing influencers and build a healthy lifestyle that will stick?
Fight Back for Physical Activity
The answer is simple: be active as a family, and talk about healthy lifestyles. Incorporating physical activity into busy family life doesn't have to be expensive, time-consuming or difficult. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans state that children should be active for 60 minutes per day and adults should be active for 150 minutes per week. This can be as easy as walking or jogging, or as fun as shooting hoops or playing capture the flag. Parents can take part in family bonding activities while staying in shape, like taking a 20-30 minute to walk with their children after dinner or before school.
The American College of Sports Medicine's 2013 Health and Fitness Trends predict that 2013 will bring in many easy and economically friendly activities, such as body weight training. Make a goal to try at least four of the activities on the trend list - and see what works best for you and your family.
It's also important to talk together about the need to eat healthy meals and get regular physical activity. Children should learn to consider the sources of nutritional or exercise information they receive and to make judgments about what to believe and what advice to follow.
Marketers may be savvy by convincing us that we must have the latest product for a healthy life or fit physique. However, setting realistic goals, creating a schedule for fitness activities, and sharing solid information and goals can help families develop truly healthy habits that will last a lifetime.