9 Ways to Celebrate Family Health & Fitness Day


9 Ways to Celebrate Family Health & Fitness Day

Men's Health.Women’s Health.Health Holidays.Healthy Living
Elizabeth Binsfield, BA, RN
By Elizabeth Binsfield, BA, RN
Sept 28, 2019
Woman and her daughter posing with their hands up and are celebrating Family Health & Fitness Day

Over the years, our country has made enumerable efforts to encourage individual physical activity and make it accessible to all. It was in the 1820s that American schools first introduced physical education (PE) as part of their programs. If you fast forward to the 21st century, schools have been slashing PE programs in favor of more “relevant” subjects, and more of us are finding ourselves in front of a device of some sort, whether for work or play.

What Is Family Health & Fitness Day?

It is family health and fitness day in September, intended to encourage Americans of all ages to pursue exercise for the whole family.  Family Health & Fitness Day was created in 1996 by the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC) and falls each year on the last Saturday of September.

How Can You Celebrate Family Health & Fitness Day?

Our society is becoming increasingly sedentary, furthered by our increasing dependence on electronic devices for work, play, and entertainment. In fact, nearly half of all Americans suffer from heart disease! We need to scroll less and move more to reap the health benefits from activity—there is no question about that! Make sure your family makes health and fitness a priority. So how can you celebrate this year’s Family Health & Fitness Day and be proactive about your heart health?

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The key is not to think of it as “exercise”—think of it as active time together collaborating, competing, or playing a game together. Change your mindset to remove the “work” of being active and pursue family-friendly activities. No matter how simple or elaborate your activity may be, make it fun! Here’s how to have fun indoors and outdoors with family this Family Health & Fitness Day this Sep. 29:

  • Get up a little earlier as a family to walk the dog and catch the sunrise together before heading off to work or school. Our days are growing shorter—it won’t be long before winter arrives and we are all rising in the dark.
  • Speaking of the dog, he could probably use a bath to wash off the summer dust and prepare for cooler weather. You can organize a family pooch pampering—bathing the dog is vigorous bonding for your whole pack.
  • September is a popular month for gardening. Why not have a family yard day to clear out fading flower beds of weeds and dying foliage, mow and rake the lawn, and trim shrubs in preparation for winter and next years’ growing season?
  • Before the colder months arrive, take a family day trip to the country and go on a hike. Pack a healthy picnic lunch and enjoy each other’s company!
  • Organize a scavenger hunt in your neighborhood—walking or bicycling only. Get other families involved. Make it a neighborhood activity. In colder months, you can do this indoors as well as a family!
  • Participate as a family in any of the Walk/Run events sponsored by many charitable organizations. Is there a particular cause that is important to your family? Support their events by participating regularly. Volunteer your time as a family if your schedule permits it.
  • If you live in dense suburbs or the city, walk into the city center together. Take in an exhibit at an art or science museum. Discuss what you saw on the walk home together.
  • Are you an athletic family? A game of touch football, soccer, kickball, or softball is a simple way to be active and competitive without too much preparation.
  • When the weather becomes cooler, have game nights as a family. Play board or parlor games (think Charades), work on puzzles together, or have a family movie night.

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Make Family Time Your Fun Time

It is easy to be more active when there are more of you participating. It becomes as much a social occasion as a healthful activity. These ideas listed are just a few suggestions—you and your family can think of others. The ideal adult level of activity to strive for, according to Mayo Clinic is “[at] least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.” That works out to about 20 minutes a day of moderate activity (daily dog walking perhaps) or approximately 10 minutes a day of more vigorous activity, say, a game of SPUD with your spouse and kids in the backyard.

Whatever you choose, enjoy a happy, healthy, and active Family Health & Fitness Day for 2019!

Elizabeth Binsfield, BA, RN

Elizabeth Binsfield, BA, RN

Elizabeth Binsfield is a Richmond, Virginia-based registered nurse and freelance health care writer, who has more than 20 years of experience in medical-surgical acute care nursing, wound care, geriatrics, and home and hospice care. She received her nursing degree from Northern Virginia Community College.

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