Top 10 Family Fitness Tips
None of us want to have a family of couch potatoes – and to avoid that, family-centric fitness activities are the way to go. However, the problem with coming up with these activities is that you have to find a way to make it appealing to the whole family, not just yourself. And the saying “it’s good for your health” won’t work.
With that in mind, here are ten tip-top tips for family fitness:
1) Start with a good breakfast
If you’re planning to have a day out, do make sure that the meal before it (in this case, breakfast) is a healthy, balanced meal that isn’t too heavy. That way, you can be sure that the family, and particularly the children, will have the right energy to have fun. This also works the same way for lunch. And as an aside, should your family fitness activity take a bit longer than what the kids may be used to, do pack some healthy snacks. Don’t go for “sugar bombs” as the activity will be over once they hit the crash.
2) No one should be left behind
Remember, this is about family fitness. If you will be an active participant, then your children will also be encouraged to try out more fitness activities. Remember, it’s not just about staying healthy, there’s also the component of being a family, and having meaningful times together as a family. You should also remember that it’s not about replacing their “modern” activities such as watching TV or being online, it’s about making them realize that they can have fun with family – and have fun, period, offline and in the real world.
3) It should be FUN
Making any fitness activity enjoyable means that you have to set it up to be fun. There’s no fun in acting like a strict parent and saying they should exercise to prevent heart disease – that’s a real buzz kill. But if you package it as a fun time with the family – parents and children involved, maybe even a trip somewhere, or probably some snacks at a favorite place – then you’re talking fun.
4) It can be simple
You don’t have to make family fitness activities a gigantic production. It can be as simple as the whole family talking a walk to a nearby place where you can go for a picnic or have a meal. It’s a fact of life that you won’t always have the time to have great activities, but what’s important is that you do have them. And don’t limit yourself to sports – aside from walking, a day at the beach, or even swimming can be a good time.
Pay attention to what your children are interested in, and find a way to build around that. For example, if your kid is interested in basketball video games, then it’s not a bad idea to install a hoop somewhere, even a small toy hoop indoors, so they can practice some shots or dribbling. It’s the same with people who like shoot ‘em up games; a game of tag in full costume or Nerf wars with safety equipment that makes them look like a sci-fi soldier might be just what the doctor ordered.
6) Positivity is important
It’s easy for children to be discouraged from activities, particularly if they feel that they aren’t learning the skills right. This can lead to frustration, boredom, and aversion to the activity itself. There are two solutions here: One is to make sure that you walk a fine line between being the cheerleading parent, and a more objective “coach.” With the right amounts of enthusiasm and advice, you’ll be able to nurture a love or at least a habit for exercise or sports. The next solution is the next tip.
7) “Walk” with them
Sometimes, the best way to get children interested in a fitness activity is to join them. Once they see the both of you are newbies, their inherent embarrassment lessens. Their attention will then refocus on trying to get it right, or, in a way, get it right so they can teach you. This can also succeed as a bonding activity for parents and children, and may be a powerful line of communication in the future.
8) Make it a regular activity
Don’t make your family fitness activities “special events.” What you should do is make them regular, scheduled activities. That’s why it’s important to think of simple activities and more organized activities. On the weekdays, choose a less intensive family fitness activity, something that can be done for about thirty minutes to an hour, a minimum of three times a week. It’s on the weekends that you should encourage more structured, intensive activities. And do observe if your children are “burning out” from too many activities. Children want their free time, too!
9) Do it for a good cause
If your family feels strongly about a certain subject, then it may be a good idea to base a family fitness activity around that idea or goal. For example, a cleanliness drive would be a great fitness activity, and will help the environment as well. It can even be as simple as a weekend summer car wash to help with home improvements.
10) Socialize with other like-minded families
One of the best things you can do is team up with like-minded family friends, for a larger activity. This can be as large as a weekend outing, camping or beach vacation. Or, if you want it to be strictly an activity, it can be a nice day of Frisbee, softball or baseball in the nearby park.