Often times it’s difficult enough finding time to squeeze in a workout for yourself. Finding time for family exercise can be a downright chore. How do you get everyone together at the same time for a workout?! One trick is to rethink your idea of exercise. A workout doesn’t necessarily have to be lifting weights, swimming laps, or pounding the treadmill. When thinking of family exercise, think more along the lines of leading an active lifestyle. With a new way of thinking, you’ll be able to fit in more than you think…with the whole family.
1. Pre- or Post-Dinner Walks
Scheduling a set time for a specific activity in your daily routine will help ensure that it won’t get put off. Since everyone is generally already together at dinnertime, it makes for the perfect opportunity to sneak in a little extra family time with a walk. To make walking a little more interesting, play I Spy while you stroll through the neighborhood, challenge each other to races from corner to corner, or even make a task out of it by walking to a nearby market to get fresh ingredients for supper.
2. Weekly Sports Night
Pick one night a week that is dedicated to family exercise. Assign everyone in the family a week(s) in the month to choose the activity. Make a family playbook stating that each activity or game has to be a physically active one. Put a list of approved activities in the book and add each newly thought of activity to the book as the ideas roll in.
3. Make Yard Work a Game
Each season brings different yard chores. Get creative and turn the toil of yard work into a little family fun. When the leaves start dropping this fall, make a game out of catching the falling leaves. Have a contest to see who can catch the most yellow, orange, or red ones. Then have everyone grab a rake to get the leaves in a pile to jump in before the leaves are bagged. In times of snowfall, have the kids help clear the sidewalk and then see who can make the most snow angels or build the biggest snowman or fort. Come springtime, challenge the family to a race for the yard cleanup. In the summertime, after the kids have helped water the gardens, have a water fight. The options of turning yard work into healthy family play time are aplenty.
4. Mix Tech with Physical Play
Getting kids away from screens can often times be a challenge in itself. Instead of fighting the kids to give up their tech altogether, compromise with games that require movement. Challenge your kids to video games with actions like dancing, boxing, or bowling.
5. Take the Long Way
When you’re running errands or taking the kids to school, or other activities, drive half way and then walk, jog, or skip the rest of the way. Forego the elevators while you’re shopping or at the doctor’s office and take the stairs. Have your little walk next to you and help push the cart at the grocery store, instead of having them sit in the cart. This way you’re getting your errands taken care of and still fitting in some family exercise time, all the while teaching your kids about leading an active lifestyle.
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