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Childhood obesity is a concern of medical experts these days. It seems children spend so much time in front of the television, gaming consoles, or computers that they aren’t as active as they used to be. Instead of signing your children up for a weight-loss reality show, here are five ways to be a fitness role model to your children.

1. Learn to recognize hunger. Do you recognize when you’re truly hungry or do you eat out of boredom or because the clock says it’s time to eat? If you can recognize hunger and teach your children to do the same thing, they’ll be more likely to avoid eating except when truly hungry.

2. Get moving! Many people think you have to run a marathon or spend hours a day working out to be fit. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, studies have proven that being active even in small ways can help you maintain normal weight. Have you told your child to stop fidgeting? Well, fidgeting actually burns calories.

There are small things you can do that will help you be a fitness role model. Take the steps at the mall rather than an elevator or escalator. You can also park further away from the store instead of driving around looking for a close spot; this will allow you to walk a little bit. By working up to 45 minutes of activity a day, you’ll be amazed how much better your entire family will feel.

3. Limit screen time. Many children have their own computer or television in their room. This encourages them to spend time watching someone else be active rather than being active themselves. You may want to move the electronics out of their bedroom and keep them in the common areas of the home so you can limit how much time they spend in front of them. Encourage them to roller skate, ride their bikes, or do some other physical activity instead of staying in front of a screen.

4. Eat your meals together. Cooking your meals and eating them together at home will allow you to control what your children are eating and how much. Plan your meals out for at least a week so you know what to buy to avoid getting junk food. Prepare fresh meals rather than processed foods; they’re more nutritious and better quality.

5. Speak positively about being fit and healthy. If your children hear “I dread going to work out” they’ll think exercise is something to be dreaded and avoided. Instead, if they hear how much you’re looking forward to going to work out, they’ll see exercise as something good and positive which will make them more likely to enjoy it. 

These are five ways to be a fitness role model to your children. Obviously there are other ways, but by starting with one or more of these you’ll be able to change your home and your family for the better. Don’t underestimate the role you play in encouraging your children to be healthy. Why not get started today?

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