How to Encourage Family Fitness

Fitting exercise into our already busy schedule can seem pretty daunting at times, especially if you have a family. It’s actually easier than you think to squeeze in some activity on a daily basis. Often times, we miss the opportunity to get some extra movement just by the bad habits we’ve created, or we have followed from our own upbringing. Set a good example for your kids and try some of these ideas to make exercise a new and fun family tradition.

1. Take a walk. Taking a walk after dinner can help aid in food digestion as well as burn some of the calories you’ve just consumed. Don’t stop at a walk though. If you have bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, etc., get those out and enjoy the evening with some activity.

2. Yardwork. This doesn’t need to feel like a chore. Start a garden. Have your kids rake some leaves in a pile and then let them jump in it. If it’s snowing, shovel the driveway and make a snow fort, snowman, or whatever your creative juices decide upon.

3. Commercial-cize. Feel like spending some time in front of the television? That’s fine! During the commercials, get up and move a bit. Do some jogging in place, jumping jacks, squats, pushups, or whatever strikes your mood. This will get you up and moving for a few minutes at a time, and those minutes add up!

4. Dance Party! Like to dance? Get your groove on and make up some new moves. I know there’s a Beyonce hiding in most of us, we just don’t let her out very often.

5. Shopping. When you are out running errands, like grocery shopping, try parking your car further away from the entrance. This will help you get some extra steps in, without having to think too much about it. And it will probably save you a lot of time from looking for that prime spot in the lot.

6. Park Time. What’s better than taking a day trip to a park and going on a hike or canoeing? Our community has a ton of great local parks. Take a picnic and enjoy a day in nature.

Author: Emily Sample, Exercise Physiologist, Hendricks Regional Health