Ten ways to enjoy an active family lifestyle
A snuggly night on the couch watching movies and snacking on popcorn may be a family favorite, but an afternoon of soccer in the park, swimming in the neighborhood pool, or hiking in the nearby woods can be just as enjoyable.
However, the latter may not seem as easy these days. In recent times, many families have noticed the struggle with living a more sedentary lifestyle.
Whether it’s due to the abundance of technology, a global pandemic, overly structured schedules, or any other reason, parents and children may not be as active as they’d like to be. And, unfortunately, this can lead to an increased risk of physical disease as well as anxiety and/or depression, of which research shows rising numbers.
But families don’t have to succumb to societal shifts when it comes to daily movement. One answer to this dilemma lies in discovering what works best for your own family.
Not every child is the same nor is each family, so don’t get stuck in needing to be like everyone else when it comes to living an active life together. Some may enjoy team sports while others prefer more unstructured play. Find a motivational point that works for you and, well, run with it.
There are endless ways to be active as a family; here are ten ideas to get you started:
1. Create a jar of exercises.
Have each family member write down exercise ideas (that everyone agrees on) which someone can draw from a jar when family time is available.
2. Learn something new together.
Take tennis lessons, go on a rafting trip, schedule a rock-climbing class, etc. Being together while discovering a new hobby makes for special memories and a strong bonding experience.
3. Go on a scavenger hunt.
Whether it’s around the house on a cold rainy day or outdoors in your neighborhood park during the peak of summer, make a list of searchable items that gets the family moving and exploring.
4. Create a tournament.
Stimulate a little competition with a family tournament. Try ping-pong on the dining room table, relay races in the backyard, or cornhole in the park.
5. Make a family ritual.
Kids like structure and knowing what to expect. Use that to support daily movement with outdoor play after lunch, a nightly walk after dinner, or weekend morning yoga.
Develop a reward system that allows kids to log their activities to complete a course and work towards a goal. This can be everything from hiking so many trails to bike riding a certain number of miles.
7. Plan a game night.
Think outside the (game) box. Make some room by pushing the living room furniture back and turn a typical board game night into a fun active night. Enjoy a game of Twister, fitness bingo, hot potato, musical chairs, or freeze dance.
8. Explore together.
Create an experience that inspires kids and bonds the entire family. Hike a state or national park, walk around an outdoor sculpture garden, or kayak or canoe to a beautiful view.
9. Get pets involved.
If Fido loves to fetch the ball, or even if he/she just needs a walk around the block, ask kids to help exercise the family pet.
10. Plant a garden.
Gardening is one interest that keeps giving long after the original physical work is done. Build a creative kid’s garden that encourages activity and good eating habits.
These are just a few of the plethora of options out there for enjoying an active family lifestyle.
Learn why inspiring an active childhood lifestyle is so important as you consider what you and your kids enjoy.