Health, fitness are family affair

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Summer is an opportunity for families to reconnect. It also is a time to get active and healthy together.

To lend a hand with that, the Walla Walla YMCA will offer a family fitness camp to help you get started.

A healthy family home includes several components. First, it’s important to decide what a healthy family home means to you. We all have different interpretations or are interested in certain aspects of a healthier lifestyle for our family.

Here are some suggestions to consider:

Go outside, explore and get dirty. Give children and other family members new avenues to explore, thereby deepening relationships through shared experiences.

“We are very fortunate in the Walla Walla Valley to have so many choices when it comes to outdoor play,” says Beth Swanson, president of the Moms’ Network of Walla Walla. “You can explore Bennington Lake or the Whitman College campus. You can play at one of our many local parks or explore Fort Walla Walla Park with its new outdoor play structure, then explore the property that is all fenced in. No worries if your children run ahead.”

Healthful eating is one of the most obvious components of a healthy family lifestyle, and by far one of the most difficult. Using the summer as an opportunity to explore new fruits and vegetables is a perfect way to start.

“Summer is a great time to get kids excited about good foods: picking strawberries at Klickers, planting and harvesting veggies out of a garden, and helping prepare food in the kitchen are all great ways for kids to get comfortable with fruits and veggies without pressure,” registered dietician Adina Pearson says. “Children learn to accept different foods, not just from eating them but through sight, touch and fun experiences with foods.”

Also, this summer the YMCA will offer a program for families to learn different ways to start having a healthier lifestyle. The aim is to provide strategies families can use daily and to have a source to go to get questions answered. What’s great is that while parents learn, their children will be provided supervised activities.

The national YMCA breaks down healthy family homes into the following categories: eating healthfully, playing every day, getting together, going outside, and sleeping well. It seems a lot less daunting when broken down into a couple of tasks.

The national Y also suggests you set weekly goals for you and your family. They could include limiting your soda intake or playing ball with the kids for 15 minutes after work.

To find out more about the Y’s recommendations, visit www.ymca.net and click on the healthy family home resource guide on the right side of the web page. We hope this summer you can begin a lifestyle change that will jump-start your fall.

Alyssa Latham oversees the Health Seeker Initiative at the Walla Walla YMCA and is a part of the wellness staff in its Healthy Living Department.

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