Family fitness helps the family bond while promoting a healthy lifestyle to your kids. The benefits of staying physically fit are many: reducing the risk for disease, creating a more positive outlook on life and promoting better sleep and weight control are just a few. Some parents understand the importance of getting the family to be more physically active but still find it challenging to get the kids off the couch.
Sound like you? Does your family groan at the mere mention of exercise? If so, it's time for a new approach! Get creative. Instead of "exercising," bring your family together for some entertaining and physically active family time. Fun and active games like the ones listed below keep young (and old) players engaged and entertained while they're moving around—perfect as family entertainment or a play date.
Note: For safety's sake, keep the ages of the players in mind and make changes to the game(s) as necessary.
Have a dance competition with fun categories like best new move, fastest dancer, slowest dancer—you get the idea. Want to start small? Tonight, when you're watching TV, dance with your kids during TV commercials. You'll be surprised how fun it can be.
Follow the Leader
A rousing game of Follow the Leader will get the entire gang moving together! Encourage the leader to be creative with movements such as hopping like a frog, running with arms out like a bird or an airplane, marching like a band, jumping, dancing or twirling. Everyone's heart will be racing within minutes.
On Your Marks, Get Set, Race!
Walking to the corner? Race there instead. Going to get the mail? Don't walk, run and see who gets there first. Little races here and there are a fun way to incorporate small increments of activity into you and your little one's day.
If your little ones love to jump, turn it into a fun and physical game. Grab some chalk or string and draw a starting line. Take turns to see who can make the longest jump.
Duck, Duck, Goose
This is an oldie but a goodie. If you've never played, here are the basics: Players sit in a circle, facing inward, while one player walks around tapping or pointing to each player, calling each a "duck," until finally picking one to be a "goose." That person gets up and chases the "picker" and tries to tag the "picker" before the "picker" can run around the circle and sit down in the spot where the "goose" was sitting. If the picker succeeds, the "goose" becomes the new picker. If the "goose" tags the picker, the "picker" tries again. Grab your gang and get moving!
When It's Cold Outside
If your family's interest in getting outside and moving around has risen but the temperature outside has dropped, keep these four important cold-weather safety tips in mind:
1. Enjoy some hot cocoa. It's a yummy treat and it'll help keep everyone toasty. How? Warm liquid moves quickly into you, doesn't take much energy to digest and quickly brings your body temperature up. Consider bringing a thermos of tea, cocoa or soup along when you venture outdoors.
2. Bundle up. Be sure everyone is dressed warmly from head to toe in appropriate winter clothing designed to keep the heat in and the cold out. Don’t mix up insulating layers with the essential wind-blocking outer layer. For example, fleece is a warm and cozy under layer but, because wind shoots right through it, it's a bad choice for an outer layer.
3. Take breaks from the cold. Take frequent breaks indoors to warm up and keep your body out of a heat deficit—especially with little ones.
4. Hydrate. When it's cold outside, many us don't realize that our bodies can still use up water quickly, which may lead to dehydration. So, just as you would in the warmer months, drink plenty of water even if you don't feel dehydrated.