Fun for the Whole Family
Would you rather spend your free time with your family than at the gym? Look for ways the whole family can get active together! You’ll all benefit, because regular physical activity can help:
- control weight
- build strong bones and prevent bone loss
- improve sleep
- relieve depression
- decrease risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure
- improve quality of life at all ages
It may sound impossible to add even one more thing into your busy family schedule. Try keeping a log of each family member’s daily activities for one week. You’ll get an idea of when you might be able to get everyone together for physical activity. It can also help you see which activities you can cut back on, like screen time.
As kids get older the appeal of the playground fades and the lure of electronic devices gets stronger. It can be hard for them to get an hour of physical activity each day if they don’t take part in P.E. or sports. While an hour each day might sound like a lot of time, there are many ways to build activity into your family routine. Even smaller blocks of 15 or 20 minutes will add up.
Here are some family activity ideas:
Enjoy the great outdoors. Take a walk or bike ride in your neighborhood. Put up a basketball hoop in the driveway or play catch in the yard. Head to the park with the dog or a soccer ball.
Rediscover your inner child. Play a family game of tag or hot potato. Try a pillow fight or squirt gun battle. Have a dance party and take turns playing DJ.
Replace screen time. Instead of heading right for the TV or computer after dinner, make that your active family time. Switch up movie night with bowling or miniature golf.
Make it a friendly competition. See who can hula hoop the longest. Race to the corner store. Have a jumping jack contest. Keep track of everyone’s physical activity for a month, and offer a prize to the family member who logs the most hours.
Plant a garden. Growing fruits and veggies gives your family a reason to get outside each day. It also encourages healthy eating habits.
Team up on chores. Rake leaves, shovel snow, do yardwork and tackle other home-maintenance projects as a family. In the end, you will have improved your home and your family’s health.
Park and walk. Make it a habit to park a bit further from school or church and walk the rest of the way.
Remember, active parents raise active children. Set an example and make fitness a priority for you and your family.
Get in the Game: Sports Fitness
Participating in sports can be a great way to get active or stay that way. Most sports require a combination of strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. They typically involve regular practice, which helps you stay active. And the goal of competing or improving performance can be a great motivator.
The amount of active training will vary with each sport. You would not train the same way for volleyball as for soccer. You might, however, cross train. Cross training includes a variety of fitness activities.
Some sports offer moderate levels of activity, and some are more vigorous. Moderate activity means you can usually talk or hold a conversation while you do it. Vigorous activity means you may only be able to say a few words before getting out of breath.
The weekly goal for adults is at least:
- 150 minutes of moderate exercise OR
- 75 minutes of vigorous exercise OR
- a combination of the two
Kids should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.
Team and individual sports can be a fun way to meet some of your family’s activity goals. Look for opportunities through your workplace, school or community recreation center. Many cities have amateur leagues for kids and adults.
|Hunting & Fishing
|Table Tennis (ping pong)
|Boxing or Sparring
Choose sports and recreational activities that appeal to you. Do you prefer the continuous activity of soccer or basketball… or the precision of golf or archery? Do you enjoy the team atmosphere of volleyball or baseball… or the one-on-one competition of racquetball or boxing?
Whatever sport you choose, you’ll be getting active which will help keep your heart healthy.