Family fitness helps the family bond while you promote a healthy lifestyle with your kids. The benefits of staying physically fit include reduced risk for disease, a more positive outlook on life, better sleeping and weight control. You don’t need to drag the family to the gym or make the kids do hundreds of jumping jacks to stay fit. Entertaining and physically active family time works just as well to increase fitness.
Create Physical Zones
Parents often tell children to stop running, jumping and wrestling around indoors. Some indoor roughhousing is unsafe, but don’t outlaw all indoor physical activity. Find an area in the home where your child can jump, climb, bounce and wiggle to burn of energy. A playroom works well if you have one. If not, choose an area without breakable items or potential dangers to your child, such as a fireplace he could hit.
Rethink Family Game Nights
If your family game night usually involves board or video games, think of ways to make the bonding time more active. Instead of games that involve sitting, choose games that get everyone up and moving. Tag, follow the leader, basketball, hopscotch and scavenger hunts are examples of active games to play together. If your kids prefer video games, stick with the new motion games that get players up and moving. Many newer gaming systems offer this option. Include healthy snacks for your active game night to promote an overall healthy lifestyle.
Track Your Activity
A family tracking chart gives everyone motivation to stay physically active. Decide between tracking the family as a whole or individuals on their activity levels. The chart also works well for tracking fitness goals. For example, you might decide to aim for at least 10 hours a week of physical activity as a family. This could include goals of bike riding or hiking in a nearby wooded area. An alternative to tracking time is counting the number of particular exercises the family completes. You might try to do 20 walks around the block together or five games of tag in a week.
Training for a particular event helps motivate the whole family to move. Look for walk-a-thons, runs, biking races or other physically active events in the community that are appropriate for your family. Many races also offer special children’s races to accommodate younger kids. After picking your event, create a training schedule to get everyone ready for the race. Do your workouts together to make it more enjoyable. The race itself also serves as a driving force to keep up with the training schedule.