Make Fitness a Family Affair

by | Health, Parent Resources

Get the Whole Family Moving and Find the Fun in Fitness

Is that treadmill in your basement collecting more dust than a Dyson? Don’t feel bad – finding time to exercise in between all the other commitments is a big challenge for all of us. However, obesity rates among both adults and children are on the rise in Canada, and are a full-on epidemic in the United States. Making sure you stay fit will not only keep you in optimal shape, it will set a good example for your children as well. Why not get your children into healthy habits early by turning fitness into a family affair? Getting the whole family involved not only makes it more fun, it makes you more accountable.

Why not leave the car in the garage and hit the pavement? If you are fortunate enough to live in the same neighbourhood as your children’s school, walking instead of driving is great exercise and will also give you a chance to catch up with your kids about what is happening in their lives. If the school is too far to walk, find some places in your neighbourhood that you can walk to with your children, like parks or coffee shops.

Why not designate a family activity time once or twice a week? Make sure the whole family is available, and keep it interesting by allowing a different person to pick the activity for that day. Maybe your spouse has been dying to try snowshoeing or rock climbing, or your kids have wanted to go hiking or bike riding; you could go to a family swim at the local pool, and there are even family yoga classes at many studios now. This is a good way to allow everyone to try those activities they’ve been interested in, while introducing each other to new things you may not have ever thought of.

Taking a few moments out of every morning to have a family stretch is a great habit to get in to. This action increases the blood flow to your muscles, awakening them and getting them ready for the day. This can make you and your children feel more awake and energized, and best of all, it only takes about 5 minutes. There are many exercises available to follow on the internet, and you can even mix and match them to come up with your own personal routine. Find out which stretches are your kids favourite, or allow them to lead the “class” sometimes so that they feel more involved.

Another great idea is to register your family for a 5 or 10 km walk/run. There are even family mini-triathlons that you could enter as a team. Not only is this a great fitness challenge, it will teach your children the value of setting a goal and then striving to achieve it. Make “training” for the event fun – let someone be the team captain for the week and make them responsible for coming up with the team exercises or training plan. Come up with a fun reward for the whole family as soon as you complete your goal, like a day at the water park or a camping trip.

Exercise doesn’t have to feel like a chore, nor do you need expensive classes or equipment to make it possible. Once you get started, you may even find that you look forward to taking the time to unwind and blow off some steam with your loved ones. Having a family fitness routine will keep you physically and mentally healthy while strengthening those precious family bonds.