Trying to live a healthy lifestyle can be difficult. Trying to help your family is another challenge all on its own. But helping your family members stay healthy can help you, too.
“Try to involve your kids and family as much as you can,” says Mekhala Garvin, health education specialist in the Cancer Prevention Center. “Encourage them to share ideas for fun exercises and get their help with grocery shopping or in the kitchen when you make healthy meals.”
We asked Garvin for more tips on helping your family live a healthy lifestyle. Here’s what she had to say:
Get professional guidance.
We all need a little help sometimes. Talk to a health educator, dietitian or exercise physiologist if you need help keeping yourself and your family healthy. The health information you can find online can be overwhelming and confusing. Professionals can offer clarity, insight and evidence-based resources you may have not considered.
Set a positive example for your family.
Whether you are a parent, caregiver or family member, you can have an impact on your family’s health. Modeling healthy behaviors such as eating nutritious foods and encouraging physical activity, can positively affect and motivate your family. You can help motivate behavior change and help create lasting healthy habits. This can reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Not only will you set a positive example, you will create a support system for yourself and other family members.
Learn from your kids.
Nutrition and physical activity are dynamic topics. Ask your children what they are learning in school about healthy living. Sharing an interest in healthy living and learning new ideas can help improve your own health as well as your child’s health.
Clean out the pantry.
It’s always a good idea to periodically clean out your pantry. Take time to donate or throw away items you do not eat or find unhealthy. Reorganizing and cleaning your pantry can help you stay on track (or get you back on track) to healthy eating.
Focus on fun exercises.
It’s important to incorporate both cardiovascular workouts and strength training into your exercise routine. Try to think of fun activities you can enjoy as a family such team sports, dancing, hiking and swimming. Pick something you and your family enjoy so you are likely to keep doing it.
Request an appointment at MD Anderson's Lyda Hill Cancer Prevention Center online or call 888-774-3020.