Growing up Haitian, Health and Fitness was never a big deal in my house. From dinner plates that were filled with 80% rice, 10% veggies, and 10% meat to “Pops” cereal being the greatest breakfast a kid from the inner city could ever have, I honestly didn’t learn the value of working out and nutrition until I started playing dodge ball in junior high school. So as I sit here as a leader in health and fitness for the culture and proud son because my mo just joined her local gym. I started thinking about how the lack of knowledge surrounding health and fitness in my household has affected my parents and even yours.
According to studies more than 25% of adults over 65 suffer from diabetes. This happens to be the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. I stress this point because diabetes runs in my family and can often times be controlled with the right health and fitness nutrition plan. The problem is that most adults seem to be stuck in their ways and may be too embarrassed to admit that they could use help in this field. The question remains, how do we get our parents to buy into working out and eating better?
Below are a couple of tips for getting your mom and dad on a healthier path so they stick around and bother you for another 30-40 years.
–Cook together: Your parents at this age aren’t looking up the latest food trends and probably never heard of “gluten-free” anything. Making dinner a team building activity in which you can introduce them to a healthy alternative to grandma’s “secret chilli sauce” can make a world of difference to their longevity.
–Go grocery shopping: This too can be a bonding experience and great way to ensure dad and/or mom doesn’t load the cart with Doritos and Oreos. Make a grocery list and stick to it! Also ensure to spend more time within the perimeter of the store where you’ll find the fruits, vegetables and lean protein such as chicken and fish. Make sure to steer clear of the aisles packed with processed foods. They will thank you later.
–Become exercise buddies: If you have a gym membership, invite your parent(s) to work out. No membership? No problem, come up with something interactive and fun that doesn’t revolve eating but is physically active. You could also have them sign them up for sessions with me.
–Check-in regularly: You may live on the other side of town or even in another state, so it’s important to check in with the folks and make sure they are on track with their eating habits and workouts. Use whatever platform they can decipher such as Facebook, Skype, phone call, or even text.
–Have a fitness tracker competition: You can each buy a Fitbit, Jawbone or just use one of the millions of apps to track your steps, workouts, calories burned ad etc. Then make it a competition to see who comes closest to reaching the (recommended) 10,000 steps per day or any other cool game you can think of to track them (sounds evil).
–Gift of Health: Instead of the usual coffee maker you get your parents every year, try getting them some cool fitness items. Anything from dumbbells to new workout sneakers, its important to let them know that you’re doing this for their best interest (how the tables have turned) and think it’s more important that they are around long enough to drink coffee with you.
*heads to the gym to make my mom do one burpee for every beating I’ve ever gotten as a kid*