A study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that our children’s life expectancy will not surpass ours, and it’s the first time in American history this has happened. The reason? Childhood obesity, which has devastating health effects. The key to getting your kids to live a long and happy life is developing healthy habits early by eating properly and getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep. This not only will help your children’s weight but also will reduce stress—theirs and yours.
So make health and fitness a priority in your home. Get the kids involved by planning and cooking nutritious meals, eliminating (or at least cutting way back on) fast food, and exercising as a family. Here are 10 fun ways to get fit as a family.
1. Play in the back yard.
Depending on where you live, this one might be a little more challenging. However when the weather’s right, be sure to grab a football and play together. Teach your daughter how to throw a or your son how to kick. You can chase your kids in a game of tag. There are endless possibilities outdoors.
2. Go for rides, runs, or walks.
Continuing with the outdoors theme, try finding a time when you and your family can get around the neighborhood. Don’t feel limited to walking or biking. How does rollerblading or scootering sound to you? Just get everybody on something that gets you moving together. Evenings after dinner are the best times because it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the sunset and tire the kids out right before bed.
3. Do some sweaty volunteer work.
There are some types of volunteer work that involve staying inside with the air conditioning and pointing people in the right direction. Then there’s the type of volunteer work where you are responsible for transferring coolers or painting walls. This unique way to stay fit involves more than just your physique; you’re also working toward a worthy cause. Try helping build a home with your local Habitat for Humanity or volunteer as a family at a school event in the concession stand.
4. Blaze a trail.
Hiking is a fantastic way to get fit as a family and offers a bonanza of beauty in God’s creation. It’s also an excellent time to talk and pull pranks. Google some hiking trails around you, plan how far you want to walk, and pack supplies accordingly. Be sure to bring a camera!
5. Do some hardcore cleaning.
Another way to stay in shape without leaving your home is to clean. If everyone teams up for this project, it goes a whole lot quicker. Window washing is a great way to work out your arms, and rearranging furniture will help with your core strength. Any chore can become an opportunity to tone some area along with maintaining order in your house.
6. Have a dance party.
Now this might be a stretch for you to do as a family if you all have different tastes. But keep the vision in mind: You want to spend time with your family while adding to your physique. Dancing is simple because it involves music. So create a playlist of songs everyone can dance to and break out whatever moves you have. And watch your kids, too—you might be able to pick up a few from them!
7. Challenge each other.
In general, having goals is a good thing. They give you direction and something to pursue. Even if you and your family are healthy and don’t need to shed any pounds, it’s good to have family goals for fitness. The goals can be very specific or simply something like “run around the neighborhood together at least once a week.” Cater the goals to your needs, time, and discipline. Remember to encourage and be accountable to each other.
8. Take a class together.
This can be as simple as exercise classes or as technical as Tae Kwon Do. Different locations offer package programs for ranges of time. This convenience allows for more variety to tailor to your family. Be sure to select classes that are enjoyable and give you and your family the amount of physical challenge you desire.
9. Explore yummy, healthy recipes.
Now we journey to the food side. First, we’ll look at preparation. As a family, decide on recipes that are appealing and healthy. Almost anything goes. The very fact that it’s homemade rather than mass-produced causes the food to be healthier than paying someone else to do it. You’ll make memories while you get fit.
10. Go pick something.
Most states have farms, and fruit farms are in a smaller population of the states. Whatever type of farm is near you, visit it. It will be a unique opportunity for you and your family to do something different. All that reaching up into the trees or down in the field will work those muscles in your upper back. After your labor, you can even take some of your pickings home. Don’t forget that nuts and pumpkins are options, but there are probably other options too. So get out there and see what’s harvestable.
Sound off: What is your favorite activity to do with your kids that helps you get fit?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one activity we can all do together to get fit?”