Want your kids to exercise more but finding it tough to get them motivated? Since children look up to and emulate their parents, why not consider exercising right alongside them?
You physically and mentally benefit from the rewards that exercise offers, and getting active together limits both you and your child’s time in front of an energy-sapping smartphone, television or computer screen.
Schedule “pick your own” sports days. This can also be a nighttime activity. Pick one day a week that you allow your child to choose a favorite sport or physical activity to enjoy. Get the whole family involved. Each week, allow a different family member to choose a favored exercise routine or sport. (FitDeck.com makes a deck of cards with different exercises on each. Simply draw a card and perform that activity, for a simple spin on physical fitness that keeps kids engaged.)
Form your own biker gang. Bikes are relatively inexpensive, affordable for just about every budget level. Most major cities offer free bikes to those that cannot afford them, and bike rental locations are common as well. Make a biking day, where the family rides together. To keep boredom from setting in, choose a different venue for your biking experience each time.
Go camping, fishing, hiking … Exposure to the sun, even just 10 minutes, delivers healthy levels of vitamin D and vitamin K. Getting into the great outdoors minimizes sedentary time spent on a cell phone, tablet or laptop. Fishing, camping and hiking all teach teamwork, planning, preparation and survival skills. You and your children are exercising without even knowing it when you take a hike, spend the weekend camping or enjoy a fishing trip.
Schedule before or after meal walks. A one mile walk burns roughly 100 calories. But you don’t have to take your kids walking a mile to benefit from this time together. Walk around your neighborhood before or after breakfast or dinner. Point out and comment on the landmarks, pets, house colors, trees or other objects along the way, making the walk memorable and enjoyable.
The benefits of getting active with your children are many. Heart health goes up, so do calorie and fat burning, and your family’s risk of getting sick goes down. You spend valuable time together, which can strengthen the bond of your relationship.