5 Health Related Behaviors for Chronic Disease Prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 75% of healthcare spending in the United States is on people with chronic conditions. The CDC has identified five key health related behaviors for chronic disease prevention. These five major health related behaviors were not smoking cigarettes, meeting the physical activity recommendations, consuming no alcohol or only moderate amounts, maintaining a normal body mass index (BMI), and sleeping at least 7 hours in a 24 hour period.

According to the results of the study of adults 21 or older, 81.6% were current non-smokers, 63.9% obtained 7 hours or more of sleep per day, 63.1% reported moderate or no alcohol consumption, 50.4% met the physical activity requirements, and 32.5% had a normal BMI.

Looking at these results it looks like as adults we are doing a good job of not using tobacco. We could make some improvements in sleep and reducing alcohol consumption. My work with college students suggests that the alcohol consumption number may be a little high. Many people do not know the definition of moderate alcohol consumption and accept higher levels of consumption as normal behavior. The definition of moderate alcohol consumption is two or fewer drinks per day for males and one or fewer drinks per day for females.

As a country, we need to get more people engaged in regular physical activity. We also need to look at what we are eating. Body Mass Index is affected by physical activity and diet since BMI is a calculation based on height and weight.  By increasing physical activity and eating healthier foods we can better maintain a healthy body weight.

Teenagers playing basketball game together on the playground during sunny summer day

As parents, we need to make physical activity a part of our daily routines. We should all be trying to get 30-60 minutes of daily physical activity. Our children should be getting at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity.

We also need to look at what we are eating and feeding our children. Successful behavior change is made by making small changes. From a diet standpoint we can start by reducing the amount of sugar we consume. Start by reducing the amount of soda or other sugary beverages consumed.

Only 6.3 % of adults reported engaging on all five of these major health-related behaviors. Let’s share this information with our children and tell them why these behaviors are important for living a healthy life.


Mike Hanik  Family Time Fitness

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Can you go one day without sugar?

The consumption of added sugars is one of the main contributing factors to the increase in overweight and obese children. These added sugars also contribute to the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. As parents, we need to know how these sugars are labeled.  We also need to understand how much added sugar our children are consuming.


According to the CDC, approximately 16 percent of children and adolescents’ total caloric intake comes from added sugars. A little more than 40% of the calories from added sugars came from beverages.

The added sugars are listed by many different names. Here are some of the more common aliases of sugar on the nutrition label.

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Sucrose
  • Corn syrup
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Barley malt
  • Caramel
  • Fructose

The higher up the names occur on the ingredient list appear, the more sugar in the product. Foods with one of these names listed in the first three items should be avoided.

We are responsible for what we eat and drink and what we give to our children. Take a small step and see if you can reduce the amount of added sugars your family consumes.

Here is the challenge. Can your family go one day without sugar?

At Family Time Fitness we are making May 31, 2016 our day without added sugar. We encourage you to join us to help make stronger and healthier families. Use the #1daywithoutsugar to share your day.

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Five Benefits of Exercising as a Family

I am always looking for ways to spend more time with my kids. It is so easy to get caught up in sitting at home together with everyone on their own tablet or computer. What can we do to be more actively engaged as a family? Eating meals together is important. Having a family game night or movie night is fun. I have found that exercising as a family has several benefits that we may not get from eating together or playing a board game.

Family Bonding

Exercising together helps us to strengthen relationships and build memories. Find activities you can all enjoy together. It may be playing freeze tag, catch, or making up your own game. Your kids will appreciate the time you spent together. Recently my daughters and I have been passing a basketball and soccer ball in the yard. I have really enjoyed the time together. My one daughter now asks me several times a week to go outside and practice soccer together. It makes me feel really good that my daughter wants to spend time with me.

Improves Communication

I believe that when we exercise together our communication improves. My children seem to be more willing to talk about what is going on in their lives when we are being active together. I have not seen any research but from my experience families who exercise together tend to be happier, have better communication, and closer relationships.

Teaches Good Habits

To our children, our actions speak louder than words. Exercising together is a great way to teach our children the value of regular exercise. When we take time to go for a walk with our kids, or going on a bike ride together we are showing our children that we value them and want them to make healthy lifestyle choices.

It does not cost much

We are always trying to find activities that are budget friendly for a family. Going to the movies or going bowling can be expensive. Exercising together can be done for little or no cost. Playing kickball or having a dance party together does not cost a thing.

It is Fun

Find activities your family can enjoy together. You might be surprised at the difference in your mood after actively playing together with your children.

Put down your tablet, get your kids together and go outside and play. Make this time a necessary part of your daily routines.

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Skills your Kids Need

“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

– Socrates


Not every child is going to play sports in high school or college but there are a number of physical skills that I believe every child should know how to do for their well-being. Here are ten skills that I believe every child should know how to do before the age of 14.

  • Run
  • Jump
  • Skip
  • Swim
  • Ride a bicycle
  • Throw and catch a ball
  • Kick a soccer ball
  • Shoot a basketball
  • Dribble a ball
  • Hit a tennis ball

Most of these skills can be learned at home. They require minimal equipment and little expense. Teaching your children these skills at a young age will provide them with the a lifetime of opportunities.

If you do not know where to start, Family Time Fitness has a number of resources you can use to teach your children these lifelong skills.


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Do you have time to walk?

We live in a time where it is very easy to be inactive. We might feel like we are always moving since our days are full of appointments, meetings, practices, or other events. The reality is that we are probably sitting during most of these events. I would encourage you to reflect on how much physical activity you get every week. Then think about times where you could add physical activity.

In the past when I took my children to a practice I would just sit and watch. This season a group of parents decided to walk during the practice sessions. By making this small change I added another 120 minutes of physical activity to my week.

Walking has many benefits. It puts much less stress on your joints than running. As little as 20 minutes of walking 3 times per week dramatically reduces the risk of heart disease, and can help improve your mood.


Close up of a woman running on a road.

If you are taking your children to practice or other event use that time to get some exercise. Find another parent or group of parents to walk with. Having another person or group to walk with makes saying no a bit more difficult.

If you have young children try to schedule an after dinner family walk. We used to do this when our kids were young. We would go for a 15-20 minute walk. It was a great way to spend time as a family.



Spend a few days tracking your activities. Reflect on your results then see if there are times and events where you can add physical activity.

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My Family Time Fitness Story

 We want to hear how using a Family Time Fitness program has improved the health of your family. We want this page to be a place of encouragement to help all families as we raise our kids to be healthy active people. Use the form below to share your story.

Run through the hoop 0 00 30-58

Every family that submits a story will receive a coupon to the Family Time Fitness store and the Hearts at Home store.


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3 Strength Building Exercises for Moms

Less than half of all adults meet the expert recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise of 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise. It may be difficult as a parent to find 30 minutes a day to exercise. You might have several times throughout the day where you have 5-10 minutes to do something active. Try incorporating these 3 simple exercises into your daily routines. These exercises can be done at home, do not require any weight or equipment, and can be done in a few minutes.

Body Weight Squats

Body Weight Squats are a great total body exercise. Squats will work the muscles or your legs, abdominals, and lower back. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Start movement by bending at your waist. Pretend to sit in a chair. Move down until your legs form a 90-degree angle at the knee. Then return to the starting position. Start with 3 sets of 10-15 squats. As you get stronger, add 1 to 2 squats to each set.

Chair Dips
Chair Dips will work the muscles in the back of the arms and shoulders. Placing your feet closer to the chair will make the dips easier. The further your feet are from the chair and more extended the legs the more difficult the dips will be. Sit down on the edge of a chair and place your hands behind your hips. Push down on the chair with your hands and lift your hips off the chair. Walk your feet forward. Slowly lower your body toward the ground until your elbow forms a 90 degree angle. Extend your arms and push your body upward to the start position. Going to low can put some strain on the shoulder joint. Try to complete 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions. As you get stronger, add 1 to 2 dips to each set.

Planks are one of the best abdominal exercises. You can increase the intensity of the plank by flexing the muscles of your legs, arms, and core while holding the plank position. To perform the plank get in the push-up position. Maintain a flat back, and do not allow the hips to sag toward the ground. Hold for a 20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Complete 3 sets of planks. As you get stronger add another set of planks.

Start with these exercises and in a few weeks you may want to try adding new exercises. Do these exercises at least 3 days each week. Get started today.

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The 5 Benefits of Playing Tag

Tag is a game that many of us played growing up. When my kids were younger we enjoyed playing tag or other chasing games. When my kids were toddlers they loved it when I chased them through the house trying to “get” them. They also enjoyed chasing me through the house. As they got a little older the chase games got a little more advanced. We had to move them outside since the games started to involve a few more people and we needed more space. During our games of tag my kids would get creative and create “safe” zones or bases where they could not be tagged. We played many variations of freeze tag. We had a lot of fun playing tag. Not only was it fun for all of us but it was a great workout. 15-20 minutes of playing tag can wear you out. I addition to being fun and a great way to get some physical activity there are many additional benefits to playing tag. These are just a few of the many benefits of chasing and fleeing or tag games.

1. Minimal Equipment

Tag requires very little if any equipment. You just need a large enough space to accommodate the size of the group. You can add hula hoops or balls to create other versions of tag.

2. Play with a small or large group
Tag can be played with 2 or 3 people or it can be played with a larger group. When there are larger groups you can have more than one person be the tagger (it).

3. Improves speed and agility
Tag is a fun way to work on improving speed and agility. When children first start playing tag they move slowly but as they get more comfortable they begin to move faster. Fleeing from someone or chasing someone is a great way to work on speed while having fun. When you are playing tag you do not have time to analyze how fast you are going. You are trying to avoid being tagged or trying to tag someone.

4. Works on starting, stopping, and changing direction
Starting, stopping, and changing direction are important skills for many different sports. Tag is a great way to develop these skills. Incorporating tag games into practices is a fun way for kids to work on these skills that are important for almost every sport.

5. Engages the brain
Tag engages our brain in critical thinking even though we may not realize it. When we are being chased we must analyze the space and find a path to avoid getting tagged. The tagger must decide who to chase, how long to chase a person, or when to chase someone else. All of these decisions are based on many factors that are being processed while the person is moving and possibly becoming fatigued. In more advanced tag games like freeze tag the group fleeing must also figure out how to help their teammates become unfrozen while also avoid being tagged.

Besides being fun tag has many other physical, mental, and social benefits. Get out there with your kids and play some tag.

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Four Stretching Exercises to Add to your Daily Routines

Many of us do not spend enough time stretching even though we know the many benefits. Adding a variety of stretching exercises to your daily routines can help reduce stress, ease lower back pain, improve circulation, and increase mobility. I really started to understand the benefits of stretching while recovering from a hamstring injury. I started to incorporate stretching into my warm-up and cool down activities. I noticed a big difference and remained relatively injury free during high school and college. A few years ago I took a Pilates course. During the Pilates course I really improved my body awareness. It made me really wish I had incorporated these exercises and stretches into my training programs while in college. I truly believe it would have helped me be a better athlete.

We all need to find 5 to 10 minutes a day to stretch and to become more aware of how our bodies feel. Start with these 4 stretches and see how they make you feel. When stretching a muscle or group of muscles move into a position where you feel tension and then hold the position. Do not stretch to the point of pain or discomfort.

Shoulder Crossover Stretch

Cross your right arm over your chest. Place your left hand just above your right elbow, and pull your arm gently towards your chest. Hold for a 20 seconds. Switch to the left arm. Perform the stretch 2 times on each arm. You should feel the stretch on the back side of your shoulder.

Seated Double Leg Stretch

Sit with both legs extended out. Bend at your waist, and try to touch your toes with your hands. Hold for a 15 count. Repeat 3 times. You should feel this stretch in your hamstrings.

Crossover Stretch

Lie on the floor on your back. Keep both shoulders on the ground, and cross your left leg over your right leg. Hold for a 15 seconds. Repeat with your right leg crossed over your left leg. Repeat 2 more times on each side. This stretch targets the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, obliques, and erector spinae.

Quadriceps Stretch

To isolate the thigh, lie on your side. Hold the leg you are stretching just above the ankle. Pull the leg back with your hand until there is gentle tension in the middle of the thigh. Hold for a 15 seconds. Repeat with the other leg. Repeat 2 ties on each leg.

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These 3 footwork drills will improve your basketball game

Developing good footwork is important to being successful on the basketball court. Most players do not spend adequate time working on proper footwork. Players who do not practice footwork have a tendency to travel which takes away a scoring opportunity for their team. Spending a few minutes each day working on these 3 drills will help to improve your game, make you more of a scoring threat and help your team.

The Jump Stop
The jump stop can be used at the end of a dribble or to receive a pass. The jump stop is executed by taking one small step and then landing on both feet simultaneously in proper balance. When done correctly the jump stop will reduce travelling violations and allow the choice of either foot as the pivot foot.

Jump Stop Drill:

Find an open space where you can run 2 or 3 steps.
Jump and land on the balls of both feet. Feet should be shoulder width apart with the butt down to maintain balance.
Stay in athletic, knees bent position.
Start slowly and when increase speed when ready.
Work on this drill for 3-5 minutes each day.

The 1-2 Stop

In addition to the motion of the jump shot, the 1-2 stop is the most important aspect of scoring. The 1-2 stop allows a player to run at full speed, place his/her feet naturally and to “stop on a dime.”
The 1-2 stop is easily mastered by simply running and stopping in a 1-2 rhythm. The first step becomes the pivot foot. Sit the hips back and down; flex the ankle, knee and hip to diffuse the force over a larger area and reduce the impact on any one joint.

Find an open space where you have 10-15 feet. Spend 5-10 minutes each day working on these drills. You will notice an improvement in your offensive game.

1-2 Stop- Left Foot to Right Foot

Run about 10 feet, stop on your left foot and close on your right foot. Stay in an athletic knees bent position.

1-2 Stop- Right Foot to Left Foot

Run about 10 feet, stop on your right foot and close on your left foot. Stay in an athletic knees bent position.

1-2 Stop Angle Drill

Set up 4 cones in a circle in front of a basketball hoop. Place the cones at the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’ clock positions. The cones should be about 8-12 feet apart. Face the basket or a pretend basket. Move to the right and use the 1-2 left foot to right foot fundamentals. Return to the start position. Move to the left and use the 1-2 right foot to left foot fundamentals. Stay in an athletic, knees bent position.

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