Why is being active as a family important?
According to Dr. Jeffrey Tanji, director of UC Davis Sports Medicine program:
- Family fitness enhances the health and mood of family members.
- Activity creates a family bond and creates memories.
- Family members are more likely to continue an active lifestyle if they engage in one together.
- Incorporating exercise in daily life creates happier, more relaxed and healthier family members.
How do you get the whole family more active together?
- Make fitness fun! Aside from individual activities family members participate in, try sledding, skating or even having a snowball fight in the yard in winter. In warmer weather and climates, try biking or skateboarding (with proper equipment, of course!) or swimming.
- Set goals. According to Let’s Move, America’s campaign to raise a healthier generation of kids, plan for 30 minutes of activity three times per week.
- Set family challenges. The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) is one to work towards.
What’s the key to incorporating fitness in your family’s lifestyle?
- Demonstrate an active lifestyle yourself. Kids of all ages mimic what they see adults do. Lead an active life yourself and your family will follow suit.
- Have special events center around a fun family activity rather than a meal. Visit a park, plan a hike or engage in some other family activity to commemorate a birthday, milestone or other special day.
- Focus on being more active, not working out. Also, pick family activities everyone will enjoy, so being active becomes part of your routine rather than a chore.
- Incorporate family activity in daily life. Walk as a family, before or after dinner. Bring along the family dog, so everyone benefits. For younger kids, create games such as how many yellow houses or black cars they can spot on a block to keep things interesting. For older kids, a walk is a great time to catch up on what’s happening in school and with friends without constant interruptions.
How can you keep your family active when the weather has you stuck inside?
- Check out an exercise video online for family fun and fitness rather than idly watching TV for hours on end. Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_geen1fGV4s for a free exercise video.
- Bring it indoors. I once knew a woman who loved walking outdoors. But, when the weather got nasty, she walked inside her home and at the local mall just to keep moving.
- Yard work needs to be done year round to some extent. Use it as a family active to get everyone moving.
- Any family member can do simple exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, stair steps, and more. These exercises require little or no equipment and are great workouts for kids at home. Put on some music, and get moving.
When is the best time to incorporate fitness in your family’s life?
The younger kids start moving, the more likely they will incorporate activity as part of their lifestyle. Plan family fun and fitness for weekends to accommodate everyone’s busy schedule.
Where can you find ideas for fun family activities?
- Check out http://www.getsweaty.com/no-excuses/overview/tabid/81/Default.aspx.
- Visit www.letsmove.gov for a list of activities and resources.
With a little creativity, you’ll have your family moving in no time! Do you have your own ideas for great family fun and fitness? Feel free to share!