Family fitness is essential, especially because of the inactivity caused by the digital age. Parents compete with video games and movies, so we need to make family activities fun. Embracing an active lifestyle will go a long way toward your offspring adopting that same positive attitude. Modeling healthy habits creates a culture of wellness. Unfortunately, childhood obesity affects up to 20 percent of American children and 40 percent of adults. Staying physically active is just as critical for parents. You only have one body, and it needs to last a lifetime.
Exercise improves mood through releasing dopamine and serotonin in your brain. These neurohormones make you feel good and enhance bonding. Active time registers in a child’s mind as love, and that love lasts!
Brainstorm with your family about enjoyable activities that incorporate physical fitness. Some ideas are tennis, swimming, canoeing, hiking, sports, and bicycling. Add to this list.
After your family brainstormed, plan when you will do them. Weekends are usually the best time for significant events, but you may fit in a bicycle ride or walking during the week. Even if it is twenty minutes twice a week, playing and exercising with your kids is an activity that will pay high dividends.
Get your calendar and plan when you will take a walk or go for a bike ride. Schedule more involved family activities on Saturday or Sunday. This may include calling to schedule a horseback riding or canoe trip. Camping is one of the most popular family activities in America and creates memories that last a lifetime.
With young children, visit a local park to enjoy the playground equipment—be a kid again! This provides heaps of exercise for kids and adults.
Driving to a state park or nature trails and hiking is a bonding experience for the whole family. You may run across many animals, where you can teach your children about animals and caring for the environment. It is times like these that children open up and talk.
Purchase tennis rackets and balls and set out for the local public tennis courts. Your whole family will exercise when they run after those balls.
If your child is involved in sports, involve the entire family in practicing. Make a small softball field in your yard. Practice hitting, throwing and running the bases with your children. If you need more players, ask neighborhood kids to join you.
If your child is involved in soccer, set up goals in the yard. If it’s football, teach your child how to throw. Football is a great cardiovascular workout. Have a weekly sports night.
Set up a basketball hoop in your driveway. Shoot some shots with your child. Ask them to practice and see if they can beat you the next time. Did you spend hours shooting a ball through the hoop when you were a kid?
How about bowling? You can add bumpers and play a couple of games. Lace-up your skates and skate with your kids. Birthday parties at skating rinks and bowling alleys are active and enjoyable.
Get the whole family outdoors whether it’s playing a ball game or walk around the neighborhood. Keep different balls in the garage for easy use. Throwing a small soft ball on the roof and trying to catch it as it rolls off the roof is entertaining when you are solo.
Add a hula-hoop, jump rope, and pogo stick to your outdoor toys. See who can keep the hula-hoop going, jump rope, or jump on the pogo stick the longest. How about frisbee?
Search for varieties of birds or insects. Listen to the call of each type of bird and see who can identify the chirp correctly. Turn over stones or bricks to find a selection of bugs. Climb a tree with your kids. Remember the activities you use to enjoy as a kid.
Create a balance beam with two bricks and a board. Watch each other try to get across without falling. This improves balance and coordination. Do some cartwheels. Active play doesn’t have to be complicated.
Nothing bonds you and your kids like teaching them to swim. It’s vital that each person in your family learns to swim at an early age to prevent drowning. Swimming exercises almost every muscle in your body.
Go sledding, snowshoeing, or engage in a snowball fight. Who can make the best snow angel? Spending time with family while getting fit will knit your heart to your children and your spouse.
Turn on the music and have a dance party or play a game of freeze dance. Play an exercise class rather than a movie. Teach your kids lunges and squats. Have a family challenge for sit-ups or push-ups. Blow up a couple of balloons and see if you can keep the balloons from touching the floor. Laugh and be silly.
Pad the floor to create a gymnastic area, or wrestle with your kids. Get on the floor, and you will find that your kids will pile on top of you. Play Twister with the whole family. Whatever you do, make it fun and a regular habit for your family.
Exercise is a blast, and it makes you feel alive. As you incorporate activities into your family’s schedule, you draw closer together, and your relationships grow. Spending time as a family is vital, and there is no better way to do it than through fun, physically challenging activities. When you spend time with your kids, you strengthen their self-image and help them become healthier. Together you are building a bond that will last a lifetime!