Today, our children are living increasingly sedentary lifestyles for many reasons. Whether they are stuck inside because of weather, unsafe streets, a lack of green spaces, or the lure of technology, this inactivity has caused the rate of childhood obesity to triple since 1971. Now, it is believed that one out of every three children are considered obese, which has led to the rise of some startling health implications for our sons and daughters.
As parents we are in the unique position to help foster a love or enjoyment of exercise in our sons and daughters. With a little foresight and awareness, we can help our children live a healthier lifestyle by getting the entire family involved. By tapping into the wealth of opportunities and creative outlets, the possibilities for families to workout and bond together are endless.
10 Strategies To Get The Entire Family Exercising
To help you on the journey of exercising as a family, check out the following ten ways to inspire even the most reluctant family members to get excited about physical movement:
Tap into fun! Let children enjoy physical activities or sports leagues by taking away some of the focus on winning, drills, or improvement. For example, let them play baseball to be with their friends and learn the sport. If they enjoy running, let them run without added pressure to perform or compete. Make it a point as a family to toss the ball around in the yard, look for new running trails, or play a pickup game together. Just remember to be supportive, positive, and encouraging.
Sign the family up for “fun runs”. Lately, there has been a plethora of 5K’s, color runs, warrior dashes, and mud runs to entice the family into exercising for charity. These are perfect venues for families, because people of all athletic abilities participate and many even walk the routes.
Let our sons and daughters have a say in the activity. We need to make sure we are allowing our kids’ voices to be heard and let them choose the sport or exercise to increase their intrinsic motivation.
Use exercise as a reward. Make it a special day by treating the family to an afternoon of swimming, hiking, frisbee golf, or biking to celebrate achievements.
Find a beginner Yoga class geared for kids and families. Yoga is known for providing a variety of health benefits and we can all enjoy the breathing, stretching, and posing. If you aren’t able to locate a local class, turn to YouTube for yoga adventures that combine storytelling with yoga for classes you can do in our own home.
Join a team, running group, or sports club together. Today, there are a variety of programs available, before and after school, that appeal to kids and adults. Whether we coach our daughter who joins Girls On The Run or we find a family group at the local Y, we are helping our children realize that exercising is a great way to build camaraderie and have fun in the process.
Dust off the hula hoops! What says fun more than a hula hoop? Nothing. Hula hooping is actually a wonderful exercise for everyone in the family and is easily adaptable for all levels of ability. Besides toning muscles, hooping is a great way for kids to build gross motor skills and coordination. If our family tires of the traditional hula, adjust our workouts to include rolling the hoops, jumping through a rolling hoop, or using them for games as bases.
Take advantage of technology. Far too often, we are begging and pleading with our kids to power down their devices. Take advantage of their interest in technology and download Pokemon GO, purchase a Just Dance game, or invest in fitbits for everyone to motivate them to exercise.
Grow a garden. Surprisingly, gardening is considered exercise and requires us to use muscles we didn’t know we had. As a family, plant a spread of veggies to maintain over the summer. We will be digging, pulling, squatting, and bending our way to a healthier menu with plenty of fresh veggies and fruit.
Teach by example. Our children are watching and listening, learning from our actions. Remember to always be upbeat about exercise and model healthy habits so we don’t accidentally send the wrong message about living an active life. By remaining positive, we can help keep our family motivated to workout and play together.
What methods do you use to get your family exercising?
Written by: Hilary Smith
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Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!