Going into the new year is a natural time to explore ways to make the most of your family’s health. While it may not be your family’s tradition to set official New Years resolutions, there are a few easy steps you can incorporate into your routine to maximize healthy living.
Following is a list of five very family-friendly tips to ensure a healthy 2015 for each of your family members.
1. Make Mornings Matter
The importance of starting your day in the right way cannot be overlooked or underestimated. There is much research supporting the benefits of eating breakfast such as lower cholesterol levels and healthier body weights. Children who have eaten a healthy breakfast show higher academic success and have higher energy levels for learning, play, and growth.
2. Prep Properly (When Possible)
Taking breakfast one step further is the idea that eating together as a family makes a difference. While this may sound like an impossible addition to the morning routine, preparation can make this become more of a reality, at least a few times per month. When breakfast isn’t an option, create possibilities for lunch or dinner to see increase in family communication and strengthened family bonds. Additionally, serving several healthy options at each meal and allowing the children to choose what they eat will keep the peace and keep their health in check.
3. Hydrate Heavily
Staying hydrated is important to our health in so many ways, including keeping energy level and stabilizing mood. It is recommended that the majority of the beverages consumed each day are water, with additional choices of milk. Limiting or eliminating sugary drinks, sports drinks, and diet sodas will help keep your body functioning optimally.
4. Prioritize Play
Attention to people of all ages – a key to healthy living is to play. It is recommended everyone gets 6o minutes of physical activity every day. The more fun families have with this, the more likely they are to continue the habit. The key is to be active enough to make breathing slightly difficult and to work up a sweat. The biggest distraction from physical play is screen time, so keep electronic use to 2 hours or less per day. This includes tv, computer, and video games.
5. Set Sleep Standard
The National Sleep Foundation reminds us that sleep is essential for a person’s health and well-being. Studies have shown that upwards of 40 million people suffer from sleep disorders that prevent them from getting the recommended 8 hours of quality sleep. It is important to note that the recommendation of 8 hours is not standard for everyone and can vary from 6 – 10+ hours required for optimal functioning. Knowing your body and the sleep needs of your family members can be an important way to identify the specific standard needed by your crew. Schedules can vary and there may be times when sleep is compromised by one or more of the family members, but having a sleep standard you can come back to to get back on track will have many health benefits.
Kicking off 2015 with these key tips will give you and your family the platform you need to make it a happy and healthy new year.
Changing Lives, One Smile at a Time
Dr. Randall Burba is an AACD accredited dentist, practicing in Salem, MA. He considers himself an artist – with teeth and beyond! He often paints, draws and has a passion for woodworking. Follow Burba Dental Partners on Twitter and Facebook.