A study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that our children’s life expectancy will not surpass ours — 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 — eating properly, regular exercise, and plenty of sleep. [Tweet This] This will not only help your children’s weight, but 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 backyard.
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 football or your son to kick. You can even take the opportunity to chase after your wife 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 where you and your family can get around the neighborhood. Don’t feel limited to just walking or biking. How does rollerblading or scootering sound to you? Just get everybody on something that gets them 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 where you get to stay inside with the air conditioning 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 towards 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 way might be the farthest stretch for you to do with your family because you have such different tastes from each other. 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 that everyone can dance to and start up a soul train line. Break out whatever moves you have and watch your kids – 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 not needing to shed any pounds, it’s good to have family goals for fitness. The goals can be very specific or simply: 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. And what memories you will make!
10. Go pick something.
Most states have farms, and fruit farms can be found in a smaller population of the states. Whatever type of farm is near you, go 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 places to go picking. So get out there and see what is harvestable.
Huddle Up Question
What is one activity we can all do together to get fit?