In these days of grab and go meals, hours spent sitting at desks, and full schedules of extracurricular activities, families need to work at being healthier together. This tends to hit especially hard in the back to school and fall season in our home. But as parents, it is our responsibility to teach our kids the importance of taking care of our bodies and making fall family fitness a priority.
Exercising together as a family is proven in research to develop children who will grow up with this healthy practice deeply ingrained. In addition, when your family shares time together, regardless of the activity, it also secures and reinforces emotional bonds that yield endless health benefits.
Family fitness is always going to more effective if it is fun, so be creative and resourceful when it comes to the activities you plan. The number one key though is planning. We have to be intentional about making movement a non negotiable habit for our families.
Here are 10 ways you can have fun staying healthier together with fall family fitness.
1. Bike Riding
If your bicycles are gathering dust in the garage or shed, get them cleaned and tuned up. Then, plan a family bike ride twice each week. Mornings may be best for hot days, or after dinner may be a more convenient time for you.
2. Alternate Walking and Running
Sure, a family walk is a nice, leisurely activity. But what if you changed it up a bit and alternated walking 3 minutes with a 1 minute run. Most kids love a race and will happily run to the next light post if it’s a competition.
3. Yoga or Tai Chi
It’s nice to have some ideas for indoor fitness activities in case of a rainy day. You Tube provides an endless supply of yoga and tai chi options for a variety of skill levels. Start with short sessions to keep the interest of young kids.
4. Dance Party
One of the most enjoyable fitness activities to do with your kids is dancing. After all, who doesn’t love a party? Turn up the music and get moving in the kitchen or while cleaning up. Older kids may even be interested in trying some salsa lessons or a hip hop dance class together.
5. Rake Leaves
Grab your rakes and get active right in your own backyard. To make it feel like less of a chore, rake leaves into a maze to follow or piles to jump in before bagging them up. Perhaps you even have a prize for the family member who rakes the tallest pile.
6. Join a Community Fun Run
Check city Facebook pages for an upcoming 5k run or 1 mile walk. Train together, set some goals, and join in the theme of the event – Halloween and Thanksgiving both provide fun opportunities to dress up.
7. Family Zoo Trip
An afternoon spent walking the The Memphis Zoo or attending Zoo Boo is a great way to do more moving and less sitting. Give your kids the map and to navigate to their favorite animals. You can even throw in a few “I’ll race you to the giraffes” to get the heart rate up.
8. Visit a Local Hiking Trail
Detox from the electronics by enjoying the outdoors together. Hike a new trail and explore the new environment. Take it to the next level with a nature scavenger hunt with a list of leaves, plants, bugs, or wildlife you may spot on the way.
9. Outdoor Obstacle Course
Build a backyard fitness challenge with simple objects like hula hoops, cones, ladders, chalk, or rope. No equipment is required for crab walks or bear crawls that may be a bigger challenge for the adults. Time each other to see who completes the course the fastest.
10. Play Ball
Whether it’s soccer, baseball, football, or dodgeball, outdoor games involving a ball require extra skill. Make the game a friendly competition, make up your own family rules, or invite neighbors to join in to make this a fun Sunday afternoon or after dinner tradition.
The goal is to demonstrate that fitness is fun, challenging and invigorating. We all know forcing our kids to exercise would result in resistance, so help them develop their own real excitement about staying active. The younger they are the better!
When you educate your children from a young age about fitness and the advantages of staying in shape, these lessons will endure for their whole lives. We know this can be challenging when discomfort in your body or fatigue keep you from participating in many of these activities yourself. What better gift to give your family than to get help to feel your best so you can stay active with them.
Speak with a Doctor of Physical Therapy about your health and fitness goals today for free by clicking HERE. Our Functional Nutrition Specialist and Integrative Health Coach may be a good resource for you as well. You can find more about those services at www.amandainspires.com.