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Family Fitness
Keeping your resolutions for a healthier family

You're not alone if one of your New Year's resolutions was to take better care of your body. One way to do this is to become more physically active. And by making it a family activity, you can promote togetherness and strengthen your commitment. As with many things, the more people you have on board to support your resolution, the better your chance of success.

Trish Mesch, MHS, PT, a clinical supervisor of outpatient physical therapy at Rush, suggests doing things together as a family whenever possible. "If parents are active, the child will model this behavior. Participating in group activities with the family creates a normal habit of exercising for kids," says Mesch. "They see it as fun, rather than as a chore."

Some fun group activities include:

  • Cross-country skiing
  • Ice skating
  • Volleyball
  • Basketball
  • Touch football
  • Tennis
  • Swimming
  • Bowling (not necessarily taxing for your body, but a good way to be active and enjoy time with your family)

"You may also want to check out what group activities are available in your local community or through the local park district," says Mesch. "Your health club may also offer family activities."

"You may find situations where you're not able to participate in the exact same activities, but are still able to promote fitness," notes Mesch. "For example, you can go with your family to your gym or the 'Y,' where the children can be involved in supervised group activity while you're getting your exercise in."

Mesch suggests consulting your family's doctor and setting realistic goals before you begin a new exercise program. "It's also important to start slowly and then gradually build the intensity of your physical activities."

She also recommends setting realistic goals for any New Year's resolution. "For example, instead of saying you'll do something every day, commit to three times a week," Mesch says. "Realistic goals set you up for continued success, rather than feeling that you're a failure for missing just one day."


Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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