Keeping active can be more fun if you get the entire family involved. There are so many things that you can do together and reap both benefits of better relationships and healthier bodies.
Let’s Get it Started
The first step in getting started is setting a designated time throughout the week. Once planned into your week, accountability is essential for continued success. Journaling activities helps everyone see their progress. One way to keep track is to start a weekly log or chart for all to tally their activities. Younger children can color in a thermometer to signify burning calories while older teenagers can just log minutes in a small journal at the end of each week. When planning activities, keep in mind to do things that makes each family member feel successful and that you adapt the activities age appropriately. Emphasize the importance of having fun rather than winning or losing when playing physical games. Taking turns to decide “what” the family activity is to engage each week is another way to get everyone involved.
Making the Connection
Using these designated times are a great way to check in with each other. Taking a walk together to the park or local coffee shop is one activity before church or scheduled practices, that can help strengthen family ties. My family would take the dog to the forrest preserve every Sunday morning and play in the leaves, snow, or puddles. It gave us time together and helped our children realize how fun it could be to walk. Remember fitness and movement heighten our energies and stimulate social engagement.
Get Out and Play
Sometimes just getting off the couch to change the channel and limiting television viewing can be a good start in getting your family to exercise. Additionlly, spending time outside almost always translates into movement. So get you and your kids out the door and into the yard. There are so many games you can play like “Hide and Seek” and “Freeze Tag” and making exercise fun makes all the difference in the world. Counting jumps on a pogo stick or counting hula hoop rotations brings an element of competition and more fun! Keep in mind, for younger children, it is important to have designated indoor and outdoor play areas where rolling, jumping, kicking, bouncing and tumbling are allowed. These types of activities can be used as rewards instead of food too, instilling more healthy habits.
All Growed Up
Teenagers and young adults will have different ideas on exercise. It’s not enough to get them off the sofa, they may enjoy more of the video gaming and traditional health club activites that adults enjoy too. Creating a contest among family members is one way to get everyone involved. One idea is to see who logs the most minutes of healthy habits including exercise, meditation and meaningful rest as well. As far as my family we have fun running together, lifting weights, and going rock climbing too. We still do family walks and even play video games together.
Living healthy and moving daily will give you more energy, help build self esteem and help you to live longer. Making time with your family matters and creates wonderful memories, but only you can make it happen.
Author of Naked Fitness
Be Healthy Be Moved
NBC Chicago Fitness Club
Anytime Fitness Anytime Health Expert.
Contributor Better TV, Today Show, GMA Health, Huffington Post