As you begin reading this, you may be thinking, “how on earth can I help my family get and stay fit when I can’t even carve out time for my own workout?” The truth is staying fit as a family doesn’t mean hitting the gym or having some overly organized workout schedule to which your family adheres. Staying fit as a family means you adopt an active lifestyle that your entire family can enjoy.
Think about it, infants and toddlers often spend time in front of the television or riding to and from in car seats. Kids continue those TV habits while adding video games, cell phone activities, and other sedentary actions. The trend continues into adulthood, where they work sitting at a desk all day. Of course, all of this keeps children from building healthy bodies with strong hearts, lungs, and muscles and developing the proper motor skills along the way. This sedentary lifestyle can then lead to obesity in childhood and on into adulthood.
The good news is this scenario can be avoided. And it is never too early to start! Why not make today the day your family starts staying fit by living an active lifestyle that is fun and easy? As an added bonus, not only will your family get fit, you’ll be spending quality time growing closer as a family while you have fun together.
Walking is one of the easiest activities for your family to add into your new active lifestyle routine. Taking a walk after dinner is a great way to get this started. Let the littlest members of your family alternate between their stroller and walking, while older kids may want to walk the family dogs. If you don’t have pets, come up with a way to make the walk into a game, adding jumping, skipping, and hopping or playing a game of “I Spy” along the way. Once, your family has gotten into walking or even running together, consider doing a charity-driven walk or run. Many of these events allow children to participate and those that don’t often have a short children’s version alongside the “big race.”
Turn up the Music and Get Your Groove On
The entire family will enjoy a night of loud music and dancing fun to get their groove on, boogie down, or two-step. Let kids chose their favorites or introduce them to the dance tunes of different eras. Kids can use flashlights for disco style spotlights, dance and sing along for hours – hope the adults can keep up!
Turn Chores into Games
Taking a lesson from Mary Poppins’ rule book, making chores a game. Even the youngest can help save the house from dust bunny invasions or rescue toys from danger by helping them return to the safety of their ship (toy chest) or play a guessing game with clean clothes while they learn to fold. Outdoors, kids can help rake leaves on the promise of jumping into piles or cover one another to jump out and surprise mom, dad, or the neighbors. When it snows, kids can help clean the car while making snowballs for the upcoming battle or build a snow fort while they help clear the sidewalk, driveway, or deck. Gardening is another great activity that kids enjoy – from digging in the dirt to watering the plants to harvesting the veggies and them helping prepare them for dinner.
A fun and active lifestyle is easy to achieve once you get started. The idea is to find activities everyone enjoys and can do together that can evolve as the kids get older. Parents and kids may even be surprised at what they learn about one another and can accomplish together!