How To Encourage Family Fitness

With jam-packed schedules day after day, an hour at the gym gets pushed farther down the to-do list, seemingly impossible to check off. It’s easier to get moving when you know you’re not sacrificing other important activities, so the trick is to combine quality family time with staying active. Encourage family fitness routines and get in on the kids’ game of tag to get your heart rate pumping. Plus, you’ll grant yourselves more time together. Leisure-time physical activity can extend life expectancy up to 4.5 years, according to the National Institutes of Health.Working out has benefits for the entire family, including:

  • Exercise boosts the immune system, preventing illness, injuries and sleep issues.
  • The kids will feel more focused and creative at school.
  • Making time for exercise displays a strong work ethic.
  • Family fitness routines encourage healthy lifestyle habits.
  • Working out releases endorphins that maintain mental health and happiness.

Here’s some inspiration for incorporating family fitness into your routine:

Be a kid, too!
You’re obsessed with limiting the hours your kids spend behind a screen and encouraging them to get some physical activity. Next time, join them! Together, you can all have a dance party to favorite songs, engage in swimming or running races, play electronic fitness programs and start a ridiculously fun Nerf gun fight. At the park, you’ll be amazed how much cardio is involved in a game of hide-and-seek or kickball. The monkey bars are also a fabulous upper body workout.

Every minute counts
It’s important to squeeze in some physical activity whenever possible. Encourage a quick walk after dinner before sitting down to watch your evening shows. When you are watching TV, challenge everyone to a quick push-up, jumping jack or squat competition during the commercial breaks. When you’re out shopping, try to park a little farther from the entrance and take the stairs when you’re inside.

Get the chores done
You won’t have to sacrifice time with the kids to get chores done if they help! They’re also more enjoyable when you make a game out of them. In an interview with Parents, registered dietitian Juliet Zuercher suggested creating a fun, make-believe world when tidying up rooms: “Pretend he’s [a rescue hero], and have him save his teddy bears from the slimy pit of the floor by putting them safely in his toy chest.” You can also get the kids involved in the garden all year long with shoveling snow, raking leaves and planting new flowers.

Daddy and mommy strength
Include them in your workout routine. Many new mothers do light yoga or Pilates exercise routines while holding their babies. As they get older, toddlers will have fun trying to copy mom and dad when they workout. Involving them in the exercises will encourage the kids to see fitness as an activity to enjoy, rather than an annoying chore.

Teaching each other
While you’re their biggest role model, don’t forget that your kids might have something to show you, too. They can teach you jump rope tricks or exercises they may have learned at school. If they play a sport, let them teach you their moves, even if you’re terrible at them! From crazy dances to imitating animals crawling, kids are filled with fun ideas. Give them a chance to suggest your exercise of the day, or to lead the TV commercial break activity. This will help the kids learn and refine their own physical skills, while feeling a sense of pride for teaching you something new.For more inspiration, check out these fun ways to exercise as a family from Wellness Mama or these family fitness ideas from PBS Parents. With the whole family involved in your exercise routine, you’ll burn a few more calories with all the laughing you’ll be doing. Have fun!

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