Give your Family a H.A.P.P.Y. New Year!: Healthy, Active, Playful, Prosperous and Youthful

HAPPY New Year everyone! Our favorite holiday season has ended and we take down the Christmas tree and throw away the gift wrappings from all of our presents. 

We have attended all our reunions and family gatherings and now our visiting relatives have already gone home. Our long, well-deserved vacation is sadly over and we have gone back to our usual routine of work, traffic, family time and sleep. 

Now is the time where we try to fulfill and be faithful to our yearly New Year’s resolutions of living healthier—losing the weight we gained, eating healthier, exercising and more. But don’t sign up yet for a gym membership that you might not use by April. If you have read my last column, I talked about not relying on half-baked resolutions but making a real decision to eat more nutritious food, exercising, resting and getting the right support on your road to a healthier lifestyle. 

Last time, I talked about food. This time I want to talk about exercise and your family. Your family can be your biggest and best supporter when it comes to exercising. Especially if you include them in your active lifestyle.

Let me tell you another story. 

When I decided to change my life by eating healthier and started to exercise, I talked to my wife about the harmful effects of processed food, eating too much fast food with our family and switching our diet to organic vegetables, less rice and sugar. 

I also asked her if she wanted to join me in walking around more after dinner instead of our usual TV time at night.  Fortunately, she agreed but it was difficult to break old habits.  But eventually we were able to transition to a generally whole food diet focused on vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish and only a little chicken or meat sometimes. Gone are the sugary treats like soft drinks, cakes, ice cream, pastries and most of the food we used to enjoy when we were growing up like pasta, bread, rice and lechon. We made the crucial realization that our health was seriously deteriorating due to the kind of food that we ate, and made the key decision to overhaul our diet.

Our daily walks are now a good time to talk with each other and I felt we became even closer. I love my wife with all my heart, so having her share and support my decision to become healthier and live longer for each other has deepened our relationship. As a result, we have lost several excess pounds in the last three years, we feel healthier, lighter, more productive and have gone back a size in our clothing. Now, we have more energy to enjoy with our grandchildren, playing with them in the park and when we go to the mall. 

So if you have made your decision to live a more active and healthier lifestyle (and I hope you have…), may I suggest you exercise with your family. You get the best support around, create better bonds with them and you all become active and healthy together.

There are so many things you can do to get active with your family. Here are my favorites:

After-dinner walks

SKIP your TV time after dinner and take a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood or subdivision. Talk about your day and hold hands. Believe me, you will feel younger already!

Take the dog for a walk

IF you have a dog, take them with you. Your pet will appreciate the exercise as much as you. Taking responsibility in caring for your pet is also a good habit and value you can instill in your children.

Join a free exercise session at the park

MANY parks like Quezon Memorial, Luneta, and even one nearest you offer free exercise sessions from aerobics, Tai Chi, Zumba, etc. It’s usually done around 6 or 7 in the morning and on a Saturday. Seeing a big group exercising is not only fun but it also motivates you to exercise more. 

Make a game out of household chores

CHORES can already be tiring so why not make it fun for the whole family. You make picking up used clothes like a basketball game by shooting them in the laundry basket for points. Or a race on hanging washed clothes on the laundry line. Be creative and have fun and chores won’t feel like a… um… chore.

Turn up the music and dance

IF it’s raining and you can’t go out, declare a dance party! Just move aside some of your furniture, put on your favorite playlist and dance! Take turns being the dance leader where everyone has to follow the leader’s dance moves. You can even teach your kids some of your “old school” steps or learn the latest dance from them!

There are many other things you can do to get your family involved like plan a sports day, water gun shoot out, a trip to the beach, play basketball or volleyball, and so much more.

Like I mentioned before, how we raise and educate our children, feed and support them, teach them the important values is again largely shaped by our own personal experiences when we were growing up. The lessons and habits taught to us by our own parents will tend to influence greatly how we, in turn, bring up our own children. Of course, there are also external influences, counselling, and readings that could change and remold our overall thinking, values and principles. So it is possible to retrain our mindset and values as we live our lives and have new experiences and ideas. And these healthier, more active and more productive ways of thinking are the ones we should hopefully teach and pass on to our children.

My point is that it truly does start from the family. Our overall lifestyle habits and values within our families create a healthy positive environment for each one of us to develop, grow and improve our personal capabilities. And our capabilities lead us to achieve great things—in school, our work and our community. Not only will we see a healthy, loving and closely knit family, we see people who driven to succeed, people who are respectful and respected in the community.

Choosing to be healthy can affect your family. It should affect your family. And I guarantee you it will. So include them in eating healthier, more nutritious food and starting a fun, more active lifestyle and be H.A.P.P.Y. this 2019. You and your family deserve to be Healthier, Active, Playful, Prosperous and Youthful!


Teodoro L. Ferrer or Ted is an advocate of health and wellness and the chairman of the Generika Group of Cos. After retiring in 2003, he and Julien Bello founded Generika Drugstore—the pioneer in the retail of generic medicine in the country. His advocacy of providing access to quality affordable generic medicine was inspired by his father, who was a doctor in Zamboanga and offered his services to both prominent families and the poor. Today, Generika Drugstore celebrates its 15th year and the commitment to provide access to quality affordable health care lives on.


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