June 11 is Family Health & Fitness Day. This is a great reminder that eating healthy and being physically active are important for improving and maintaining overall health.
DHEC’s Bureau of Community Nutrition Services is sharing some ideas for how you and your family can be healthier and fit today and every day.
Make Healthier Food and Beverage Choices
- Choose whole foods more often than processed foods. Reduce or eliminate the unhealthy snacks in the house. Replace them with fruits and vegetables.
- Start cooking together. Aim for at least one meal a week and work up to cooking every day together.
- Stay hydrated by drinking more water and less caffeine and avoid sugary drinks. Especially in the heat of summer, drink more water.
- Eat the rainbow. Try a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially those of different colors, to keep things fresh and interesting. Summertime in South Carolina is a great time to take advantage of seasonal locally grown fruits and vegetables. Search the SC Farmers’ Markets and Roadside Markets Map to find local produce.
Get Out and Play as a Family
- Staying indoors is associated with less activity while being outdoors is associated with increased activity. When outdoors, always remember your sunscreen, even on cloudy days.
- Green exercise, which is considered any physical activity that takes place outside, has been shown to improve both physical and mental health. It includes a variety of activities such as gardening, cycling, walking, participating in a sport, flying a kite, playing outside, or walking the dog. Even five minutes of green exercise has been shown to have mental health benefits and can improve ones’ mood and self-esteem.
- While play is crucial for a child’s development, it is beneficial for people of all ages. Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.
- Take advantage of South Carolina’s natural resources such as parks, forests, waterways, and beaches.
Aim for a Physical Activity Every Day
- Whether your family goes for a walk, throws a Frisbee, or plays with the dogs, do things that make your heart pump faster.
- Those who are active are more likely to have lower body fat, improved focus, and reduced symptoms of depression compared to those who are inactive.
- Engagement in adequate levels of physical activity helps prevent a wide variety of potential health problems including heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
- For families with children, it is even more important than ever to focus on health and fitness. Data from the 2020-2021 school year shows that COVID has negatively impacted South Carolina students’ health and fitness. For more information about the health-related fitness of South Carolina students, visit www.scdhec.gov/fitnessgram.