Let’s face it – many of us put off exercise because it requires setting aside blocks of time that we simply don’t have as parents. But a workout doesn’t have to mean running for miles or lifting weights.
Parents set the tone for nearly every part of their child’s life. Healthy habits are passed along from parent-to-child, so it’s the responsibility of the adult to initiate an active lifestyle to make exercise fun; children will naturally follow suit. It’s even more important today, as the number of children getting enough physical activity dropped by 40% last year, according to a Public Health England report.
However, doing exercise and staying active doesn’t have to be a chore; getting outside and being ‘at one with nature’ is important and an easy way to help build a healthy lifestyle. Not only will exercise make everyone feel better but with summer approaching, the fresh air and sunshine are significant mood boosters too.
Ways to get active together:
Whether you head to the local park and allow the kids to play, or decide to take a quick loop around the block, adding a walk into your daily routine ensures that it won’t get put off. Children (and adults alike) respond well to a structured schedule, so set a time and write it on the family calendar.
After school is also a great time for kids, as youngsters tend to be sat down for most of the day and need to burn off some of that pent-up energy before bedtime. After dinner is also a great time as the whole family is together, making it easier to get everyone involved.
Have a weekly sports night
Each week, dedicate an afternoon or evening to play sports. Let your children take charge to ensure they get the most enjoyment out of it – you’ll probably be surprised at the creative ideas they come up with.
Create a rota and rotate weekly, so every family member gets to pick what they want to do. For example, one week you might play football, the next golf, and the following week, you may decide to head to your local swimming pool. It’s important to make these activities fun, so consider pool toys games or setting up a family competition – always a winner!
Mix it up
Don’t limit your idea of exercise to just going to the gym – anything that gets your family moving together counts, but it’s important to mix it up so the children don’t get bored. Consider changing up activities from day-to-day, from walking one day, to playing catch or having a kick around – even get the kids to help out in the garden. It all counts as exercise and doesn’t have to feel tedious, or a chore.
Think outside the box
Children love to play games, and there are so many you can choose from – you can even create your own. Whatever the weather, there are always games that can be played inside or out, to get your kids active and away from those iPads and Xbox’s.
Some fun and active games include:
- Play a game of tag
- Hide and Seek
- What’s the time Mr Wolf?
- Simon Says
- Playing catch
- Water balloon fights
- Playing football
- Flying kites
- Trampoline games
- Slip and Slide
What do you do to stay active as a family? Do you exercise together?