Health Advocate Blog

Include the family in your wellness goals

According to the 2011 Willis Health and Productivity Survey by Willis North America’s Human Capital Practice, more businesses are starting wellness programs. Sixty percent of the survey respondents indicated they have some type of wellness program at the office, an increase of 13 percent from 2010. Employers aren’t scaling back either, 58 percent said they plan to expand their wellness initiatives with added programs and resources. While employee wellness programs are good for the employer as it lowers health insurance costs and improves the bottom line, it is also beneficial for employees. Wellness programs can help build employee morale and confidence, and overall make people more engaged in their health and well-being.

Now that the work environment has been transformed into a key site for wellness, extending healthy habits outside of the office is important in order to reach one’s goals. Family involvement can often make a difference because of the social support it provides. The healthier a family is, the more likely a family member will stay on track with wellness goals. To start getting the whole family included in a healthier way of living, you need to first organize a wellness program at home.

Health Advocate Inc., an advocacy and assistance company that helps people navigate the healthcare system, offers the following steps to help you develop your own family wellness program at home:

1. Eat healthy every day. Have each family member commit to eating lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Try to eliminate processed foods, high fatty foods, high calorie snacks and sugary drinks like soda. Get the whole family involved in researching different recipes, making the grocery list and food shopping. Learn how to read food labels and teach it to your family.

2. Start working out together. Look for a family gym membership if available. For low-cost options, take walks as a family, especially when the weather is nice. According to the American Heart Association, walking for at least 30 minutes a day is the simplest, single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health. Plan an exercise time that works with everyone’s schedule. For example, maybe a walk around the neighborhood after dinner or on weekends is the best time for your family. Try taking a walk in the park or plan a hike through a nature trail. If possible, commit to doing a family activity at least twice a week.

3. Have a family fun day. Schedule family time and find an activity that everyone can enjoy and participate in together. Allow everyone to take turns choosing an activity. Some examples? Bike riding, swimming, or roller skating.

Committing to a healthier lifestyle can be challenging, but you are more likely to succeed and stay on track with your wellness goals if you have a buddy, like family friends or coworkers, supporting you. Plus, getting your family involved in wellness initiatives allows everyone to share in the many benefits of good health!