Staying fit as a family is a great way to connect and help your kids develop healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.
There are hundreds of benefits for the whole family to staying physically active, including improved sleep, increased attention and learning capacity and reduced stress.
So, here are 10 ways that you can encourage your family to stay fit together.
1. Go Walking
Sometimes the simple things are the best.
Incorporating a short walk into your daily routine can be a great way to decompress after a long day at work and school and use up any excess energy before homework or bed.
Set aside 20-30 minutes every day to go for a walk around your neighbourhood and reflect on your day. Or, take the time over the weekend to go for a walk in your local park, a plantation or even along the beach to experience nature while you exercise.
2. Set a Family Fitness Goal
Having something to work toward can give your family members the motivation to get up and move around. Try picking a cause and participating in a Fun Run or marathon to raise money.
You can create an easy daily training regimen to help build up your fitness.
You can also try setting up family fitness challenges such as aiming to increase your number of daily steps or running a 5K.
If you are going to do a fitness challenge, don’t forget to create a plan and set up a way to monitor your progress, either with a chart or an app. Kids love to track their achievements visually.
Finally, make sure you have a good reward planned for when you achieve your goal. Avoid food rewards and focus on more family-oriented experiences.
3. Get Outside
No matter the season, there is always something fun to do outdoors.
When the weather is warm, go for a bike ride as a family, or walk the dog. During the fall, fly kites or go for a nature walk, and in the winter, snowball fights and snowman-building competitions can get the whole family moving.
4. Make Chores Fun
Chores can be a source of conflict in many families but making chores fun not only makes sure they get done, but it also encourages your kids to get active.
There are age-appropriate chores for all kids, so even the smallest members of your family can get involved.
Play colour-matching games while folding the laundry or turn up their favourite tunes while vacuuming and mopping. Yard work burns plenty of calories and gets you out in the fresh air, so have the kids rake leaves into piles that they can jump in or wash the car as a family.
5. Get Out in the Garden
Kids love to get dirty, so put their natural interests to good use and have them dig and plant a garden.
Studies have shown that gardening can be just as effective as weight training for conditioning muscles and burns plenty of calories. Gardening can also teach your kids about where their food comes from (and maybe make them more likely to try new vegetables!).
Once they are finished gardening, reward them and yourself with some yard games like bocce ball, volleyball or giant Jenga.
6. Plan Weekend Family Activities
It can be a challenge to organize family activities during the week, so save planned family outings for the weekend. Planned outdoor activities not only give you a healthy dose of vitamin D, but they can also provide the family with an unforgettable experience that forges strong, healthy, family connections.
Ranches, plantations and parks that are open to the public and offer family-friendly organized outdoor activities such as horse riding, swimming, fishing, hunting, golf or learning about nature are an excellent way for your family to stay in shape while gaining new experiences together.
During the winter, plan a family skiing trip or go sledding.
7. Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are a great way to engage your kids’ natural curiosity and competitiveness.
You can create your scavenger hunt by going to your favourite places such as the zoo or park and looking for specific animals, plants or items.
Or, turn it into a treasure hunt and try geocaching with the kids.
With geocaching, your family not only enjoys a fun treasure hunt, but it can also provide an opportunity to learn some important wilderness and navigation skills along the way.
8. Evaluate Screen Time
While not all screen usage is bad, it is essential to set boundaries around how much and what type of screen activities your kids are exposed to.
There are many ways to minimize screen time and boost your kids’ activity level.
If you have a Wii, play Wii Fit games as a family. Or turn commercial breaks into activity times and see how many jumping jacks they can do before the show comes back on.
9. Have a Family Dance Party
Dancing is an excellent cardiovascular exercise, not to mention an enjoyable way to pass the time.
If playing outside isn’t an option, crank up your family’s favourite tunes and boogie down.
Challenge your kids to a dance off or set up a talent show challenge and have them show off some of their best dance moves for points.
10. Sneak in Active Time
Making simple changes to everyday activities can let you sneak in some extra exercise without the kids noticing.
Park further away from school or the store, so you need to walk the extra distance. Or, have your kids walk around the supermarket helping you find items rather than riding in the cart.
When you are out and about, skip the elevator and use the stairs.
Staying fit as a family is fun and a great bonding experience.
Try some of these simple ideas to help you incorporate more activity into your family’s routine and enjoy staying fit and healthy together.