As any mommy or daddy knows, it can be difficult to fit in exercise while juggling parental duties. But actually, there are many ways that you can do keep fit together as a family once the kids are at a physically active age
Encouraging your children to get into healthy eating and exercise has many plus points, from establishing good habits for improving health. So it’s as important as ever to try to get everyone into a pro-exercise mind-set. With our 7 tips to help you lead more active lifestyle, you should find it much easier to stay fit together as a family. Let’s start at the beginning.
7 Easy Ways to Keep Fit as a Family
- Eat good food together
Families that eat together grow together – shared mealtimes offer children comforting predictability and structure, and give parents a chance to get everyone together at once. Then, mom and dad can lead by example with healthy eating. Involving the kids in mealtime decisions is a great way to encourage participation.
Another great encouragement is to make mealtimes a lecture-free zone, so everyone feels safe to join in. Discussing food itself is a nice, neutral and educational option. And as you implement your fitness plan (see step 2), you can use info from many good guides on the science of healthy eating and sports nutrition.
2. Plan organized exercise together
As well as educating your youngsters on the benefits of healthy eating and nutrition, you can teach your kiddos some good habits by helping them to think about fitness regularly as well. Get everyone together to make up an organized family action plan:
- Sit down and talk about what activities everyone wants to do
- Make up a schedule for at least one big shared event a week
- Write down the routine and work in everyday activities
The goal here is to have one shared event that everyone agrees on, whether it’s a family swimming trip, biking or dancing. One weekly event will give everyone something to look forward to and encourage togetherness. But if you can add some of the active lifestyle suggestions below, even better!
- Build Walks into Your Routine
The simplest way to lead a more active lifestyle is to make exercise a part of your family’s everyday routine. Just make it a rule that you all go for a half-hour walk daily, either before or after dinner, and you’ll help everyone to work up an appetite or walk off that post-meal crash!
This idea is particularly easy if you’ve got a dog, as most kids don’t need a second invitation to play with pooch in the park! But even if you don’t have a dog, you can still turn a regular walk into a great way to stay active together.
- Declare regular dance-offs!
Turn up the tunes and host a disco in your home. Dancing is a great way to keep the family active, because everyone loves music. It’s your choice whether you use genuine party lighting or put one of the family on “strobe duty” with a flashlight.
Just make sure the music is chosen democratically to avoid arguments down the line. Rotating the DJ weekly, or even quarter-hourly, is a good way to steer clear of conflict.
- Get active in the garden
Kids love getting covered in dirt in the garden. (If yours doesn’t, and is one of those rare and special fastidious children, please move swiftly to point 6!) So, there are plenty of opportunities to encourage active living by putting them to work in the yard.
In springtime, they can be helping out by turning over the soil and planting bulbs, and in summer, they can help cut or collect grass. As the year draws in, they can pick up leaves in fall (bagging by colors for extra interest) or help shovel snow in winter. Just make sure they get to leap in those leaf piles and build snowmen too!
- Turn chores into a game (or sport)
Transform tidying up into something less boring and you may find the family will stay active and keep on top of chores to boot! You just need to figure out how to turn a task into a game.
Collecting dirty clothes in your laundry basket could become a game of – what else? – basketball. And you could turn vacuuming into a Ghostbusters-style game by suggesting that household dust is actually evil spirits. The only thing limiting this idea is your imagination!
- Keep up the good work!
As mentioned in previous articles, you haven’t failed until you give up! You can all be forgiven for letting the odd activity slip if one of you is unwell, or if mom or dad has been busy with work.
The important thing is to pick up the routines again as soon as possible. As Confucius says, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Active lifestyles encourage energy and enthusiasm – the toughest part is getting started again. So, make sure to reward yourself if you get everyone back into good ways!