Between the demands of school, work, and extramural activities, who has the time to exercise as a family? But an active lifestyle is necessary for you and your kids. We’ve found a few ways you can incorporate fitness into your family’s routine.
Make weekends active
Find a physical activity that the whole family enjoys, even if it’s just a relaxing stroll on the beach. Make an effort to set aside at least an hour over the weekends to get active. Sign up for a Park Run in your area, or go for walks or hikes on your local routes. You can also go to local farmers’ markets, or explore new scenery, even if it’s just walking to a new coffee shop in your neighbourhood.
Play indoor games
Don’t let the lack of outdoor space or cold weather stand in your way. Create family time with indoor games that require movement, like Twister, or invest in a Nintendo Wii. Or how about balloon volleyball? Blow up a balloon and challenge your family to keep the balloon in the air. The first one who allows the balloon to touch the ground loses! It’s quite the aerobic workout too, so keep it going for at least half an hour…
Take Rover for a walk
Research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health says that dog walking is an excellent motivator for exercise, as our incentive for exercise is driven by the needs of the animal. Don’t own a dog? Offer your services as a volunteer dog walker at your local shelter. This is an excellent way for you and your family to do your bit for charity, get some fresh air and bond with animals.
Make TV time fun
Challenge the whole family to move more during the ad breaks of your favourite TV shows. Do jumping jacks or crunches. You can even turn your favourite family TV show into a fun game. Get the children to do jumping jacks each time your favourite character uses his or her famous catchphrase, for example.
Go old-school with a game of hopscotch
This classic can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors. If you don’t have space outside, or if the kids are feeling cooped up by cold weather, make an indoor hopscotch board by drawing or taping the different blocks and numbers on a large piece of cardboard. Or grab a piece of chalk and draw a Hopscotch board on the nearest pavement.
Walk off that roast dinner
Don’t limit your daily conversation to the dining table. Extend dinner time (and get fit!) with a sunset stroll before or after supper. This way, the whole family can relax, and talk to each other about their day without splitting focus with eating. Several studies have shown that walking after supper does a lot to improve digestion.
Shop and exercise
Get some precious steps in every time you and the children go grocery shopping. Permitting it’s safe and well-lit, park a bit further away from the shop entrance, walk up the escalators and carry the bags to the car instead of pushing a trolley. Have your toddler walk beside you rather than riding in the shopping cart or a stroller. This seems like tiny amounts of exercise, but they do add up. A study presented by the European Society of Cardiology has shown that even 15 minutes of daily physical activity can decrease early death by one fifth.
Clean the house
Set aside time on a Saturday or Sunday morning and get cleaning. Give each family member a room to organise or a specific household task. Crank up the music and get moving. Make the chores competitive by setting a timer and giving a small treat to the first person to complete the tasks within the time limit.
Tackle the garden
Save money on gardening services and build fitness into family time. Get the whole family involved. See who can rake up the biggest pile of leaves first, or who can pull out the most weeds. Watering the plants, digging up soil, and planting new shoots are all great little workouts for children.
Do YouTube workouts
You don’t have to have an expensive gym membership to stay fit. There are loads of varied YouTube workouts online that require only a mat and little to no equipment! Get your partner and children involved and do these workouts. Many of these workouts are aimed at children, too.