Do you feel like you are always doing your own exercise? Do you feel like exercising is one of the most lonely parts of your day.
Sometimes working out is a way to escape the family, enjoy some quiet time, listen to your favorite music, or simply listen to a podcast. But sometimes, it’s great to bring the whole family along for some fitness. The benefits extend far beyond your physical health. Exercise together as a family can strengthen family bonds, and even help your child’s communication skills and cooperation skills. It can also improve their coordination and motor skills if he/she is younger.
These are some easy ways to invite your family to join you in your exercise program.
1. Have fun.
Ok, so your 5-year old won’t be interested in a 45-minute session of yoga, and your 12-year old probably doesn’t care much about pilates, strength training, or pilates. What if exercise was fun?
Instead of laying out your exercise mat on the ground and watching a video, go on the road. Take a hike. Take a walk in the neighborhood. Geocaching is a great way to get out and about. You can learn a new skill together, such as snowshoeing or rollerblading.
2. It is best to schedule it.
You likely have a schedule for your exercise time. This schedule will help you stay on track to reach your goals. You can also schedule your family’s exercise time just like you do for your own exercise . It makes it happen, not just push it off because everyone is too tired or busy.
Perhaps every Saturday afternoon can be dedicated to family exercise. Perhaps you set aside 30 minutes each evening for family exercise before dinner. It doesn’t matter how you plan it, just make it a priority.
3. Make it compulsory.
You want your children and partners to have fun exercising together, but if they are dragging their feet or making a fuss, it may be time to make it mandatory.
This is a great way to ensure that your family is getting exercise, not just plodding along the bicycle path or doing half-hearted crunches. You can combine exercise and chores.
It doesn’t matter if you shovel snow, rake leaves or pick up litter on a local hiking trail. This is one way to make exercise compulsory.
4. It’s easy to sneak it in.
You don’t have to be “the bad mom” and make exercise compulsory. There are plenty of ways you can fit in some fitness-focused activities throughout the day, which will benefit everyone.
If you are taking a family trip to the supermarket or mall, park farther away from the entrance so that you can all access the steps. If you visit grandma, take your children to the stairs instead of the elevator. Take everyone along for a short walk to the corner shop so they don’t forget a necessary item for dinner.
Everyone will do a little more exercise without realizing it.
5. It should be a contest.
Some families thrive on competition. If this sounds like you, then get out there and compete. Perhaps you challenge your entire family to reach a goal of steps. The person who has the most steps during the week wins a choice of take-out or a movie to watch with the family.
You can also challenge your family members to achieve a similar goal for extra competition and the satisfaction of “beating the Joneses”.
6. Flexibility is key.
Flexibility is important when it comes to including your family in a routine for exercise. It’s important to not force your family to do something, to not be rigid or to make it difficult for them to exercise.
Remember that your children should be getting some exercise on a regular basis. They don’t need to do the exact same thing every day. Every little bit counts.