Hello, I’m here to talk about your family fitness. We know it’s important to be physically active and exercise can improve your general wellbeing. It is constantly being drilled into us by health and wellness practitioners and the media. We know this truth in theory, but in practice, our lives, together with our families are way too sedentary to promote health. You know it.
Of course it’s so much easier to come home after a hard day of work and plop on the couch, I would like to remind you of the benefits of exercise…. Yes, you are aware of them for yourself, but now please look at it from your child’s eyes. An active life helps your child focus better and thus excel in school. They experience better levels of self confidence and emotional well being. The higher serotonin level caused by exercise reduces the amount of anxiety and stress your child feels which helps them to cope much better with life’s challenges
You want the very best for your children, and you work hard to give it to them. I’m sure you would want all of the above mentioned benefits and more for them to live the life they deserve and help them be the best they can be. Yes, it takes a little bit of commitment to make it a habit, but I assure you that it gets so much easier after you have made it a way of life. You must also keep in mind is that being active together doubles up as bonding time with those you love the most! Never forget that. You make moments that your child will treasure forever. I know this for a fact as I was brought up in an active family, and so fondly remember my active childhood. By making this effort, you have helped your children defy the current health trends. You will have shown them that fitness is fun and given them the gift of healthy way of life.
Here are a few ways to help you work on family fitness and make time to be active in today’s super hectic, busy world.
1. Chat with your family about fitness goals and make a joint plan
I’ve found that letting children have an active part in decision making (within limits) helps this process much more than just telling them what to do. So, when you are next all together, maybe at dinner, try to figure out some simple realistic goals you can strive to achieve as a team. Get everyone’s input and make a joint plan of action. This doesn’t need to be tie consuming. Start with 20 – 30 minutes one day a week and then add on as you go. This step is a must if you are serious about getting and seeing results in the long term. Remember “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
2. Discover your reason why
The best tool you can use to ensure success is to work on discovering a compelling and powerful reason why you want this to happen. Think about what kind of a life you would have if you really achieved your goals. How would it feel like to get your diabetes, blood pressure or cholesterol under control? How would you kids feel if they are able to focus and get better grades in school? There are a million reasons. Have each family member choose their own reason why and share it. Remembering this will help you stick to your action plan even if the going gets tough.
3. Make a family friendly activity list
Get out a pen and paper and brainstorm ideas on how to be active together. Please take everyone’s contributions even if it’s not totally something you like. Make a pact that if you do theirs, they have to do yours! Think about including body weight exercises like push ups and squats, but please don’t stick only to these traditional boring exercises. Also focus on fun activities that double up as fitness exercises. You could choose biking, hiking, ball games, jump rope, catch, tag etc. Take turns at coming up with ideas, and make your way through the list by choosing a couple every time you get together to ‘workout’
4. Give the gift of fitness
A cool way of getting your kids motivated to exercise is to give them fitness gifts for special occasions like basket balls, bikes, jump ropes, skateboards, etc…
5. Get creative
Look around your house with the eyes of your child and get creative with your workouts. You can make fun circuits by choosing things around the house to safely jump over crawl under or balance on and you could alternate them with planks, jumping jacks or burpees.
6. Compile a cool playlist
Get every bodies input on their top 3-5 upbeat songs and put them all together to make a customised playlist. Do not put all the songs from one person’s list together. I find it works better when you put one song from each member on at a time in a rotation. It is an effective way to keep your kids engaged, as they keep waiting for their next song choice.
7. Check out offers on your community
Your child’s school, and local community centre could very possibly have several active options to choose from. You could also look into different active classes like Zumba, martial arts, or yoga that you could do together.
8. Plan healthy meals
Being active is so important, but it is nothing without a good nutrition plan. Educate yourself and then your kids on super yummy healthy options for food and snacks. Soon you will have a large recipe book to choose from. Get your kids to help out in the preparation and planning of their meals. Another fun family moment.
9. Organise active gatherings and vacation
Book a skiing, hiking or scuba diving vacation to help you stay active and have a blast doing so! Or plan a volley ball game, relay competition or dance party for your next big family get together… or why wait for that? Organise one in your neighbourhood for family and friends as soon as possible!
10. Follow up, track your progress and reset with New Goals
After you have made a plan, schedule it into your calendar and make a simple check list to keep track of what happened and what didn’t. After a couple of months, go over what activities were successful, and what weren’t. Everything is trial and error. Some ideas will work and some will be a total flop. Give your kids a little lesson in accountability and show them how to shift gears, but keep going when things don’t go as planned!!
All the best in this endeavour. If you need more help, contact me or buy my book on Family Fitness “Power Play – the Super U Fitness way”!