When it comes to family fitness, children will take their cues from the parents. If you eat poorly and have a dim view of exercise, your children will be more than likely the same way. As a parent, the little ones look up to you as an example of how people behave in the world. They are quite impressionable, and it’s up to you if you want the kids to have a healthier disposition. So, here are seven ways you can promote family fitness that can be fun for everyone in the household.
How to Involve Everyone in Family Fitness
For most people, including the kids, exercise can seem more like a grueling chore to be avoided at all costs. However, there are many fun things you can do that can get everyone under the roof involved. It’s up to you to get the ball rolling when it comes to physical activity.
- Xbox and Wii Play
A lot of families have the Xbox Kinect or the Wii gaming systems. Unfortunately, not all of them are used to their greatest capacity. In fact, most Wii games can still be played while sitting on the couch. If you want to get everyone involved, find games that are fun and physical. We have a standing rule in our house: if the Wii is on, you’re standing on your feet. We also utilize the Xbox Kinect quite regularly. In fact, most of our games are for the Kinect. Host a family competition and see who the best player is in the household. So far, I am undefeated at Kinect Sports Season 2…however, my 11-year old daughter did exceptionally well.
- Outdoor Water Fights
Now that the seasons are changing, it’s time to start planning some outdoor activities. One of the favorite things we do at our house is load up some balloons and water guns. Although it can be a bit messy at times, an outdoor water fight may be the perfect solution for family fitness. Just make sure you balance the teams well. It may seem unfair if the adults pummel the kids. If your yard is big enough, why not have the children invite their friends over as well? This engages the kids even further while possibly helping out the neighbors by giving their young ones something to do.
- Yard Sale Exploring
Yes, my family enjoys visiting yard sales. During the weekend mornings, why not make it a habit to explore the neighborhood to seek out those places with treasures? I know a lot of people will load up in the car and drive around. But if you use your feet, you’ll burn an exceptional number of calories as a family. Looking for things to buy is an activity that nearly everyone enjoys. If you find something large, go back for the vehicle or ask if the seller can help deliver it. You’d be surprised by how many people will help you out in such a way.
- Water Park Season Passes
When it comes to family fitness, swimming is one of the most prolific activities for exercise. Buying a season pass for the family gives everyone an excuse to visit these places on a semi-regular basis. Depending on where you live, there could be some amazing parks nearby that you should be taking advantage of. Think of these passes as an investment on health as well as getting everyone motivated to get outside.
- Barbecues in the Park
Barbecues are a common activity, but add the park environment and it could be much more. Whether your kids are small enough to enjoy the playground or you bring some games along, routine visits to nature can be great for family fitness. The trick is to engage the kids with fun games. How often do you play with the Frisbee, disc golf, hacky-sack or a number of other games? If you want the kids to be engaged with the activity, you need to join it as well. Most children have a penchant for wanting to spend time with the parent. By playing these games with them, you’re building bonds with the kids while getting exercise.
- Weight-loss Challenge
If everyone in the family is overweight, set up a weight loss challenge. Set a goal for everyone to meet in order to lose the most number of pounds inside of a month. If the family meets that goal, do something fun. For instance: If everyone can shed 50 pounds between everyone in the house, buy something fun or plan a day in town complete with movies and shopping. Make it a reward that everyone will want to share. Since we live in a small rural town, our goals usually include movies or perhaps visit the bowling alley.
- Family Leagues
Nearly every city has some kind of league that you can enroll the family. When I was growing up, it was all about bowling. Find local sports in your area that you can get everyone involved with. Not only can this be incredibly fun, but it can also help you teach the young ones about sportsmanship as well as family fitness. If we had more money, we’d probably get more involved with golf since all of my children love going out with me to the course. What can you find in your area?
It’s up to the parents to encourage family fitness, and doing so can vastly improve the physical and mental health of the kids. If you want them to spend less time with the TV, you need to put effort in to play with them as well. Lead by example, and teach your children of a better way to live outside of being a couch potato.
What kinds of things can you think of that would benefit the fitness level of your brood? Are there activities you do now that have potential for family fitness?