We live in a fast-paced world filled with appointments and obligations. Whether you are a stay-at-home parent, work from home parent, or you work outside of the home, we all have busy lives focused on providing the best life for our families. In the mix of all the busyness, it is easy to skip out on a regular fitness routine due to exhaustion and “lack of time”. As easy as it is to fall prey to the demands of a busy schedule, I challenge you to make time! One of the best ways to get into a regular fitness routine is to make it a family affair. There are so many benefits to keeping our body active ranging from more energy to improving our cardiovascular health. Getting your kids involved in the process can be a great way to set them up to make good, healthy decisions throughout their lives. Play helps build stronger muscles, bones and heart as well as improve your mood. Let’s explore some ways that we can keep active as a family, build stronger bodies and relationships, and have fun!
Set a good example– you are the best role model for your children. Seeing their parents active will prompt your children to follow in your healthy footsteps! A great way to get in some extra movement is to participate in mini workouts during commercial breaks. Each time a commercial comes on, engage your children in doing jumping jacks, high knees, push-ups or mountain climbers. It is a great time to teach proper form, as well, to avoid injury.
Trade screen time for play time– encourage your children to play outside for a set amount of time in exchange for time to watch one of their favorite shows. For example, 30 minutes of play time equals 30 minutes of screen time. Find the child inside of you and join them! You get the benefit of clean, fresh air as well as the peacefulness of being out in nature. As an added bonus, all of that fresh air and exercise may just help you get a better night’s sleep!
Make a family fitness schedule– include your children in planning an activity calendar for the family with active play time. Include things like indoor play, family walks and team sports. Make it fun and have a dance party with songs from all generations. The laughter that inevitably will go along with seeing the crazy moves of siblings and parents helps improve mental health! “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Proverbs 17:22a
Indoor Play- whether the weather outside is rainy or sunshiny, you can find fun family activities to do together indoors. Make sure you have an “Indoor Survival Kit” ready with fun family favorites! Choose games with movement like twister, hula hooping contests, musical discs, limbo and hyper dash. Get creative and use bean bags and balloons to invent new games that will become a family tradition throughout the generations!
Outdoor Olympics– Challenge your family members to a round or two of Beach Ball Olympics. A simple beach ball can be used for bowling, soccer, basketball and volleyball competitions! Making an obstacle course is another great way to get the family involved in healthy competition. You can purchase orange cones for very little money and old pillow cases make for great “potato sack” races. Remember, laughter and time together helps to frame exercise as something fun and not something to dread. And, as Dr. Sears says, “A family that plays together stays L.E.A.N. together.”
I cannot stress enough the importance of active play for children and adults alike. We know that inactivity, stress and a poor diet can contribute to chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer. It is said that over 20% of children ages 6-17 are obese and the habits we form in childhood tend to follow us into our adult lives. So it is important to help frame a healthy lifestyle for our children now by modeling healthy food, fitness and spiritual choices. To learn more about our L.E.A.N. Start, Prime Time Health or Pregnancy courses, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org