Better Together: 10 Tips For A Healthy Family Exercise Routine
Exercise is one of the most important elements of a healthy lifestyle, along with healthy food habits, but it can also be difficult to maintain an exercise routine long-term. Implementing a family exercise routine, while sounding fun, brings more hurdles. Different ages, schedules, and abilities can make the goal of a family exercise routine seem far-fetched. For working parents, the extra family bonding time and health benefits your family will reap are well worth the effort of overcoming these challenges to establish this new habit.
Establishing a Family Exercise Routine
Whether you have a newborn, a toddler, teenagers, or any combination of children, now is a good time to start a family exercise routine. The best reason to integrate regular exercise in your family’s routine is the endless benefits everyone in your family will reap.
Family exercise improves everyone’s mood, health, and confidence. For working parents, pushing past the challenges of adding a workout to the routine can be difficult. But the benefits of working out far outweigh these challenges. Everyone in the family enjoys lower stress levels when they work out regularly. Establishing these habits now also gives children the foundation for a healthy lifestyle for their whole lives. When kids (and adults) are physically fit, they perform better at work and school, which is a boost to self-confidence. As an added bonus, family exercise creates bonding time that will only strengthen family ties.
Consider these 10 easy and creative ideas for establishing a family exercise routine:
- Take walks after dinner. After-dinner walks are a great way to be active and bond as a family. You can go to a park for a walk or walk through your neighborhood. Use a stroller or wagon for the littlest ones until they’re old enough to be safe (and keep up).
- Invest in a jogging stroller, bike seat, or bike trailer. Jogging strollers are great for pushing little ones through your running or walking routine. If you’re more interested in riding a bike, consider getting a bike seat (to go behind you or between you and the handlebars) to bring your little ones along for the ride.
- Implement baby and toddler exercises, if you have little ones. With just a quick search, you’ll find a plethora of workouts for parents that allow their small children to take part. Make a game of leap-frog into a set of squats, or lift your baby into the air for arm lifts to tone your muscle. Get started with more in this list.
- Sign up for a charity walk or run as a family. Charity walks as a family are a great way to encourage fitness. It’s a win-win because your kids will also get to learn about causes that matter to your family, while instilling in them generosity and kindness.
- Make it fun! Consider playing a game of basketball or soccer together. If you have a neighborhood park or even a good yard, playing soccer or other field sports are a great way to get your family moving. Setting up a basketball hoop on some good pavement is another easy way to create opportunities for the whole family to be active.
- Create a list of activities to do together and rotate through them. But don’t do all the work yourself! Getting feedback from everyone in the family creates an atmosphere of teamwork. Work together to create a list of physical fitness activities and rotate through them. Everyone will get a turn to do what they enjoy and may even start enjoying something they hadn’t tried before!
- Set a family fitness goal. Dad may want to cut two minutes off his mile swim time. Mom may want to run an 8-minute mile. The teenage son may want to add 30 pounds to his bench press. The preschooler may want to be able to froggy jump from one end of the room to the other without stopping. Whatever the case may be, set goals as a family and encourage one another to reach them. Cheer each other on and celebrate once they are achieved.
- Play with the kids instead of just watching. Instead of using the park as a time for the kids to play on their own, make play time family time for everyone. You may be pushing them on the swing or chasing them around the equipment, but that functional fitness is good for both kids and parents.
- Create a calendar for your family work-out times. Helping everyone place fitness as a priority in the calendar will increase success. Having it visibly on the family schedule will also help your little ones start participating in the planning and implementation. We all know schedules can get messy. When this happens, reschedule, don’t cancel.
- Make it competitive. A competitive spirit can be good for kids as long as they develop a healthy mindset about being competitive. Encourage them to view winning and losing in a healthy manner… then model good sportsmanship. That means you don’t always let them win, but when they do win, congratulate them on a job well done.
This year is the perfect time to establish a family exercise routine. This list only scratches the surface of all of the creative ways both you and your children can get moving together, creating a stronger bond and healthier lifestyle.
Choose one thing to implement this week, then build on it every few weeks to build the habit of a family exercise routine.