Exercising is a great way to spend time together as a family and to maintain healthy vision.
When is the last time you played basketball, frisbee or flashlight tag with your family? How about the last time you went on a family hike or bike ride? Physical activity is essential for men, women and children of all ages. It helps with weight management, mental alertness and disease prevention. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, many eye diseases can be delayed or even prevented by exercising regularly.
Protect Your Vision with Regular Exercise
Physical activity benefits the entire body – and especially the eyes. Studies show that being active for only 30 minutes a day reduces the risk for chronic conditions like hypertension, high blood sugar, obesity and high cholesterol. These diseases are known as metabolic syndrome, and they can be precursors to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. As for visual health, many eye diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are linked with metabolic syndrome, and fortunately, exercise can help limit their effects.
Model Healthy Habits for Kids
Cardiovascular fitness, like healthy eating, is a life skill that must be learned. It’s not enough to simply tell children to be healthy. Parents need to form their own positive, diet and exercise habits and then model those behaviors for their children.
Len Saunders, acclaimed author on family fitness, says, “…children are watching their parents’ every move, mirroring their every action; if a parent is sedentary, there is a good chance their children will be too. However, parents who eat healthily and exercise with their children on a regular basis are teaching them many valuable lessons” (PBS).
Make Exercise FUN for the Family
If you’re just getting started with family exercise, keep it simple! Walking, swimming, hiking, playing tennis and doing yard work are just some of the activities the whole family can enjoy. Exercising together can be much more fun and can make “working out” go by faster. Try putting the kids in charge of accountability for your family’s commitment to fitness. That way, they won’t let you skip out on a workout!
Here are some ways to blend fitness and fun:
1. Take a family walk each night after dinner.
2. Swim at your local pool or community center on the weekends.
3. Participate in a couch-to-5k race and train together. Invite extended family and friends to join you and create a team t-shirt.
4. Locate a yoga studio in your area and take a weekly class together.
5. Create a backyard boot camp. Use a free app like Sworkit to set up a cardio circuit.
Keep Safe During Exercise
Before you implement your exercise plan, contact your family physician or eye doctor to make sure that your workout plan is appropriate for your family’s level of fitness. You can always increase the duration and intensity of your workout, so begin slowly and be patient. So, get out there, get moving and have FUN!