In 2014, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that more than two in three adults were considered to be overweight or obese. About one in 13 adults were considered to have extreme obesity and one in six children ages two to 19 were considered obese. The two ways to offset this epidemic are diet and exercise. Exercise can be intimidating by yourself. Group exercise holds people accountable, builds in a support group, and creates friendly competition. The most interwoven group in our lives is our family. Finding fun, creative ways to involve the family can be challenging yet rewarding. Try these tactics to make your family fitness friendly!
Try New Sports
Sports are a great way to introduce your kids to other children, thereby expanding their social network. It’s also a valuable venue to learn humility, sportsmanship, team building and overcoming adversity, in addition to being active. Many communities have family leagues for softball, basketball, volleyball, and tennis so that you can also get some quality family time in together. Check with your local parks and recreation department to see what family leagues are available in your area.
Exploring the great outdoors can be a fantastic way to stimulate movement and do something the whole family can enjoy. Set up a day hike, family canoe trip, or ski/tubing day. Often when outside, the family can break up and go explore something each person is passionate about. While some are fishing, others can be bird watching or studying plants. Not only is this a great way to get the blood pumping, but it also almost always creates great family discussions about what each person discovered throughout the day. Furthermore, many studies have shown that time in nature and physical fitness can help to reduce the onset of depression and anxiety for people of all ages.
Build a Home Gym
Gym memberships can be intimidating and inconvenient. Furthermore, a family membership can be costly. Take the time to research whether you can build a gym at your home. Evaluate if you have the space required to house a treadmill, stationary bike, and/or bench press. Then do a cost comparison between a yearly family membership and the cost of the equipment. Often, the equipment will have paid for itself in gym fees within the first year. Make it novelly fun and set up a small locker room area equipped with personalized lockers and benches. Have a sign-in board in the home gym for each family member and create an incentivization program for spending time focusing on their personal fitness.
Create Fitness Games
Does your family have a show that everyone gathers around the TV for? Perhaps a live sporting event? Create a game with calisthenics and predictable outcomes of what you’re watching. Watching a drama series? Every time there is an on-screen kiss, do five push-ups. When your favorite basketball team is on, make a rule that for every three-point basket scored everyone does five sit ups. Make sure to keep the number of calisthenics low (never more than 10 reps). You want the “game” to be fun not brutal.
Create Family Routines
Regardless of what your plan is, stick to it. Consistency has more positive results on your health and weight than intensity. Pick out two weeknights and one day of your weekend to get active, and do it! If you’re still tired from your last physical adventure, don’t cancel the next one, simply do less than expected. As time progress, you’ll notice the entire family respond. People will be doing more during the designated times, and will want to do it more often. Before you know it, your family will be the fitness family that all other families envy. Now, get out there and get your fitness on.