Exercising with others increases the likelihood that your new fitness routine will become a habit.
Those who run together have fun together. This may sound cliché, but it holds a lot of truth. Families who share their fitness goals have a healthy future, not to mention a house full of accountability partners.
“Keeping fit together by making healthy choices is smart for families for some very important reasons. For starters, healthier parents are more involved, feel better and have more energy. They’ll add years to their lives and life to their years,” according to fitness columnist, Annie Oeth.
Healthier families mean we’ll have healthier children. “One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the diet and exercise habits of your entire family,” according to the Mayo Clinic website, www.mayoclinic.org.
Creating healthy habits, though, as a family project can be more than just getting fit. It can be a fun bonding experience.
While time or lack of it is often an excuse, conducting a family time management study and blocking out time for family exercise is important. You may be surprised at how much “wasted” time you actually have.
Here are some tips to make family fitness fun:
Spend time outside. The sweltering heat and humidity of the summer has left and fall brings beautiful leaves and crisp temperatures. There’s no better time for a nature hike or trip to the walking trails. Adding Geo Caching can be a really fun way to get exercise, explore new areas and find some neat stuff.
Make family fitness fun and interesting. According to nutrition columnist Rebecca Turner, create a fast fitness jar and allow each family member to write down their favorite exercise move that can be done in the living room — jumping jacks, pushups, high knees, air squats or even crunches. During each commercial draw an exercise and complete it for 2-3 minutes. By the end of the program you would have reached your 10 minutes for heart health.
What we consume is as important as how much we exercise. Try different themed meals such as “Meatless Mondays where only vegetables are served. Other nights of the week can be theme oriented such as Fish Fridays or choose a healthy international cuisine one night a week.
Make family meals healthy meals by always encouraging water or low-fat milk over a sugar-sweetened beverage, Turner said. “Boost your family’s nutrition by always having a fruit, vegetable or both at every meal and snack. Moms are always in need of healthy recipes. Put the power in your kids’ hands by challenging them to find healthy recipes that they would enjoy to try for dinner.”
While house and yard work don’t sound fun, they can actually help burn additional calories. Divide the chores up among the family and make it a contest with healthy prizes for the individual that burned the most calories. Having Fit Bit devices is a great way to track activity.
HERE’S TO BEING FIT FOR LIFE! Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast. He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.