Has the pandemic brought a change in your lifestyle? Have you found yourself more sedentary and moving less? Perhaps you’ve lost your jogging buddy due to social distancing, or your aerobics class at the rec center has been canceled. Having kids at home more often also presents a challenge when it comes to finding time for physical activity and exercise. Making fitness a family affair will give you a built-in support system, create an opportunity to bond, and help all family members be more active.
Sit down and make a list of the reasons you want to be more active. Some items on your list might be:
- Feel more energized.
- Develop healthy habits to last a lifetime.
- A positive body image and maintain a healthy weight.
- Less time on cell phones, watching T.V., or playing other devices.
- Lower the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some cancers.
- Improve mental health for yourself and your children.
- Reduce medical costs now and in the future.
- Improve sleep, balance, and joint mobility.
Next, it is time to take action. This part can be tricky. What if your spouse and kids are less than excited with your new ideas to be a more active family? Try these tips and tricks to help change their minds:
- Plan activities that cater to their sense of adventure like hiking, swimming, or rock climbing.
- Spend time outdoors playing sports, doing relay races, or going on a walk to explore the neighborhood.
- Play with your kids at the playground or take them on a bike ride.
- Pull out some basic sports equipment, a baseball and mitt, or a jump rope.
- Turn physical activity into a game. Offer a prize for the winner, the person with the best sportsmanship, or the most creative idea.
- Let the family decide. Have a list of physical activity ideas pinned on the bulletin board or stuck to the fridge with a magnet. Take turns letting each member of the family decide how you’ll be active that day.
- Turn up the tunes and have a dance party.
You can also try limiting screen time. Give the family room to be bored, they will naturally seek more active or creative ways to spend their time. Set an example by limiting your own screen time and replacing that time with physical activity. If they see you having fun, they just might want to join.
Click here for family physical activity games you can do right at home.
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Comment and share with us what you did to encourage your family to be more physically active this week. Enjoy!
Candi Merritt and Shayla Shearer
Certified Nutrition Education Assistants