Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Making Fitness a Family Affair

Squeezing in time for exercise can be tough on busy parents. We know that it is important, but with so many schedules to work around, your exercise time is often relegated to last in line.

Making fitness a family affair can not only help you find time work up a sweat (and hopefully melt off some of those pounds that those children helped you gain), but can bring your family closer together. Teaching opportunities, laughter, and overall better health are some of the many possible results of family fitness time.

Going to the gym may not be a practical solution for family fitness and not as fun for the kids; but there are many other activities that get the heart pumping that can easily be done together with children and adults of varying ages.

Going for a walk - If you need to start slow, walking is a great form of exercise in which almost anyone can participate. A walk is a great opportunity to teach your children about the plants and animals that are native to your area as well as a great exercise.

Running - You may think that your little ones are too little to get started in running or jogging, but this is just not the case. Take a look at your local fun runs and you will find that they often include children’s races (usually ranging in length from ¼ mile to 1.5 miles). These can be such a great experience for children. Most children’s races include an award for all participants. I have also seen many young children (my 7 year old son included) that have participated and done very well in 5k races. I have even been smoked by an 8 year old a few times! Community and school fun runs are usually less expensive than many and so much fun to participate in as a family. Make sure that you spend some time leading up to the race practicing, running a couple days a week to build up your endurance.

Swimming - A local community pools is a great place to go as a family. Many will have family swim nights which can be a little less crowded that daytime swimming hours. Mom and Dad can trade off swimming laps and watching children, or get your children in on the fun and race them across the pool!

Tennis - Scout out your local parks for tennis courts. You will have to invest in rackets, but you can often find them at garage sales or second hand stores. (For your chance to win one of 4 Prince junior rackets, see our giveaway here!)We give our younger children racquetball rackets, which seem to be the perfect size for their little arms. Not only will they enjoy getting a chance to hit the ball, but all will get the chance to do quite a bit of running around chasing after mis-hit balls!

Soccer - Soccer is a great form of exercise that requires very little equipment. All you need is a patch of grass and a ball. Goals can be made from anything you have on hand. Kids will love the constant action and it will definitely help burn calories.

What are some of your favorite ways to exercise as a family?

Before you start any exercise program, please see your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough for the activities that it will require.

- Christine

Posted by Christine of Random Thoughts With Chris

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