Fit Family Challenge Spotlight Families Tackled Exercise Head On
Congratulations to all the families who participated in the 2016 Carolina Parent Fit Family Challenge, especially our Spotlight Families, the Prater and Lucas Families. The families who participated should be very proud of themselves and the strides they made toward a healthy active life. It isn’t easy to change long-held behaviors and to try something new, but each family did!
The 2016 Spotlight Families were ready to go before the actual challenge began! I met the Prater family in mid-April, Jenny was excited and determined to make changes in her life and the lives of her children. When I met them, I quickly learned that this family has a busy schedule and had not found physical activities that they enjoy. Jenny is a single mom who works full time, while the kids have a busy day of school and don't get home until 6 p.m. Their goals were to find physical activities that kids enjoyed, to decrease screen time and for Jenny to walk before the kids woke up each morning.
The Prater family took the challenge seriously, they started walking with the neighbors in the evening, taking a few kick-boxing classes and enjoying hikes on the weekends. Jenny was able to walk a few mornings a week and strives to increase the frequency of her walks, since she wants to take part in a fall 5K. Matthew and Allison are still looking for more ways to have fun and be active. They enjoyed the kick-boxing class and hikes, but those activities aren’t always available to them. The Praters worked hard and will continue to work hard to decrease screen time and use that time to be active!
While leading some fitness activities at the Fit Family Kick-off Celebration in Cary at the end of April, I had the opportunity to meet the Lucas family. I could instantly tell that this was a super busy family, too, but a family that was going to meet the challenge head on. Since the kids were already involved in sports, their goal was to create time where the entire family could be active together, as well as find a time when the parents could do additional cardiovascular exercise and stretching activities.
The family tried new things together; X-box Kinects, “Cookie Jar” fitness, badminton, walks, tennis and volleyball, to name a few. At the same time, Felicia made sure she was getting her 30 minutes of walking most days of the week, and Kelvin and Felicia both tried yoga. After trying yoga a few times, they both decided it just wasn’t for them, so they worked on some basic stretching and some Pilates, which they seemed to like better. The Lucas family met many of their goals but felt the best part of being active together was that they were able to all “connect on a new level.” For a family and for a physical activity expert, what more can you ask for!
No lifestyle change is easy, but it is possible. Set goals, find something you enjoy and know that there will be setbacks and road blocks, but with perseverance, hard work and creativity, one day your goals will be met!
Evie Houtz, the program specialist for Be Active Kids, serves as the Fit Family Challenge spotlight families' fitness instructor.