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Take 12 Steps for Health

Take 12 Calendar


January 2017

Step 1: Start Together, Stay Together

Come up with a plan for eating healthfully and exercising together on a regular basis.

Making Healthy Strides


Don’t wait until you’re sick to get started! Start now – find an activity that brings you joy, and bring your family along! Try biking, walking the dog, and gardening – just get started!

Sign the My Healthy Year Pledge to commit to making this your family’s healthiest year yet! Talk about why it is important to eat and be healthy. Make family goal charts to spark friendly competition.

2017 is MY/OUR YEAR

This is the year to make a change or maintain what you’ve started. It is never too late to adopt healthy habits and get on the right path. Start small with one step at a time and gauge your family’s response. If your family didn’t like one approach, try another. There is no one prescription for health and what works for one family, will not work for all families. With the right attitude, motivation, and support you can make a change and your family will be on the path to health, wellness, and longevity. So get up, go out, and go!

Source: American Heart Association, "Family Fitness"

Come Up with a Plan

Exercising and eating nutritiously is more fun when you can do it together. It is important to come up with a plan for family health goals to keep each other accountable. Even from a young age, instilling healthy eating and physical activity into children’s routines that will carry on with them throughout their lives. Here are some starting points and tips for coming up with your family plan:

  • Start with small, gradual changes
    • Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into meals
    • Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy products
    • Vary protein choices, try fish or salmon instead of meat
    • Choose whole grains
  • Practice portion control
    • Fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables
    • A quarter of your plate should be filled with grains
    • Protein portions should be the size of your palm
  • Encourage physical activity
    • Take family walks after dinner
    • Purchase a family gym membership and set a family gym time
    • Choose toys that encourage physical activity like balls and jump ropes

Sources: United States Department of Agriculture, "Choose My Plate"
American Heart Association, "Ideas to Get Your Family Active"

Accountability as a Family

Once you start on the right path, it can be hard to stay motivated in the everyday hustle of life. Juggling work, kids, and other commitments and our health goals can soon be at the bottom of the priority list. Getting your family involved and holding everyone accountable is a start on the road to a healthy family. Accountability is key to ensuring motivation. Below are a few tips and suggestions on how to keep your family motivated and accountable for family health goals:

  • Set clear expectations of the goals and each member’s responsibility
  • Set a long-term yearly goal and smaller monthly goals to be accomplished
  • Create a visual board
    • Put stickers or checks when a family member completes a healthy activity or eats a healthy meal
  • Reward healthy behavior with healthy rewards
    • Take a family hike or spend the day at a water park to reward healthy behavior

Source: Empowering Parents, "How to Create a Culture of Accountability in Your Home"

Get Info for the 50+ Crowd at the Park Authority’s 50+ Web Portal

50+ Connect, Engage, Play The Fairfax County Park Authority has launched a website specifically for residents age 50 or older. The 50+ Engage-Connect-Play portal provides one-stop shopping for information on Fitness & Wellness, Arts & Learning, Gardening & Adventure, Giving Back, and more that’s geared toward Baby Boomers and active seniors.

Staying active and staying connected are key to good health and happiness at any age, and the Park Authority is making it easier for older residents to find new ways to engage as family and work demands change. In Fairfax County, 23.2 percent of households include adults who are 65+, and this group represents 11.5 percent of the county’s total population.

Go to Fairfax County Park Authority - Fifty Plus to see which of the thousands of Park Authority classes are most popular among Baby Boomers and the 70+ crowd. Find out about concerts, fairs, festivals and other park events that appeal to older residents. Book a tee time at a golf course, register for an art or gardening program, or find activities to entertain the grandchildren. Visitors to the site can also explore ways to give back to their community through paid and volunteer opportunities in the parks.

This initiative is part of the larger, countywide effort aimed at addressing the needs of a rapidly aging population in Fairfax County. U.S. Census figures show that there is a net in-migration to Fairfax County of persons age 85+. Among Fairfax County residents age 80 or older, 47.5 percent have one or more of the following: serious difficulty with walking and/or climbing stairs, difficulty dressing and/or bathing, or a cognitive disability.


Fairfax County Park Authority Take 12 Sponsors
Take 12 Steps for Family Health
Take 12 Steps for Your Health in 2017 Calendar

Download Your

12 Months, 12 healthy goals. Don't miss out on this year's great wellness opportunities in the Fairfax County community! The calendar contains fitness and wellness tips, ways to improve your nutritional habits, and better health ideas for kids, teens and adults. Also, the calendar contains coupons to use throughout the year. STEP UP to better health!

The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:

  • Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
  • Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
  • Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
  • Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
  • Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!

pledge card

Download the Take 12 Pledge


Take 12 Newsletter

2017 Healthy Strides Community 5k/10K, Burke Lake Park, April 22, 2017
2017 Healthy Strides Community Expo, SpringFest, April 30, 2017

We are seeking support from local businesses and organizations for Take 12! Steps for Community Health in 2015. Our participants are the same people your business is looking to attract. Take advantage of this opportunity.


Achievement Award Winner

Healthy Strides Race and Expo are
2015 NACo Award Winners


Healthy Workshops and Events are always being added!
Check our events calendar often for great opportunities in the community.

All events are free (unless indicated with a "$") and require advanced registration.
To register, please email


We are looking for people who have used the Take 12 program and found better health as a result of their participation. We are also looking for any kind of feedback about the program - the calendar, events, workshops, tips, articles - anything that you want to tell us, we're listening! Email us at


Phone: 703-324-8423

Mailing Address:
Fairfax County Park Authority
Attn: Take 12 Program
12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 425
Fairfax, VA 22035-1118

All content within is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health. Always consult your physician or health care provider before taking any new medication, beginning any program of exercise, or following any health or wellness advice contained herein.

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
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