Regular exercise can help people of all ages improve their cardiovascular health, control weight and manage stress. The problem is that for many kids and adults, exercise is considered a chore, rather than something to be enjoyed. If your family could benefit from more physical activity, the best way to get everyone on board is to make it fun. That requires changing some habits and incorporating physical activity into your daily lives.
Do Things Together
Plan fun activities that you can do as a family, such as playing catch, kicking a soccer ball or playing basketball. You can make a habit of taking a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood or visiting a park every day after school or after dinner, or you can walk the dog as a family. On the weekends, visit state parks or hike trails to see the beauty of nature where you live.
Ditch the Car
If you live in an area where it’s safe for adults and kids to walk or bike to school, stores, parks or the homes of family members or friends, start doing that as much as possible. Having a clear destination in mind and talking about what you plan to do when you get there can make the trip feel shorter for everyone, and you will have plenty of things to chat about on the way home.
Make Chores Fun
Have your kids help with cleaning and laundry, but keep things interesting by having everyone take a break to dance or do jumping jacks whenever you say the word or give a signal. Breaks with some exercise and laughter will make things more fun for everyone, and not knowing when those breaks will come means that all family members will have to be on their toes.
Plan Seasonal Activities
Think of forms of exercise that are specific to each season. In the summer, take your kids to the beach or to a pool at a community center or at someone’s house. If you have a pool of your own, invite family and friends to a pool party. Teach your kids how to swim or enroll them in classes. Schedule a camping trip with plenty of time to go hiking and explore the woods. In the fall, have the entire family rake leaves and see which team can make the biggest pile or fill the most bags. In the winter, have the whole family build a snowman or a fort if you live in cold climate areas.
Create Fun and Healthy Habits
Exercising together can make everyone healthier and can help you bond as a family. The key is to make it fun. Try as many activities as you can to see which ones are right for your family. Create a routine, but also make a habit of trying new activities, exploring new locations and participating in friendly competitions. Keeping things light-hearted and introducing unique activities will make your entire family think of exercise as a fun part of everyday life.