Exercise is an important part of a healthy, happy lifestyle, but it can be really difficult to get yourself moving, no matter how much you know you need to, when you have a busy lifestyle and overcrowded schedule. And if you have a family to care for, this is doubly true. What’s more, your kids should be getting exercise, too, not just you. Making sure your young children develop a habit of being active is the best way to instill healthy lifestyle values in them that can last a lifetime. But how? How could you possibly manage to get your kids to work out when even just doing so yourself can be a chore and a half? It’s easier than you think.
Change How You Look at Activity
A lot of babies, toddlers, kids, and even kids spend a lot of time sitting around, staring at the TV, playing video games, etc, etc. In order to pry them away from the screen (TV, video games, and the like are fine and you should allow your child to experience them if they wish, but in moderation, as with all things) for some exercise doesn’t mean dragging their butts to the gym.
Think of an active lifestyle as just that; a lifestyle. It’s not a specific thing you reserve a large block of time for and go to a specific place for, it’s a general attitude and set of habits and ways of looking at things that will keep you moving throughout the day. Here’s some ideas on how to cultivate this kind of lifestyle in your whole family.
Look for Exercise at Every Turn
Take stairs, not escalators or elevators. Don’t let your kids ride in the cart; have them follow you on foot. If you’re going somewhere in walking distance, why get in the car? Sure, it’s easier, but is it necessary? Further, you can even drive partway to your destination and then get out and walk the rest of the way once you’re within a reasonable walking distance. If you live somewhere with decent public transit, why bother with a car? Don’t buy a new one when your current one bites the dust, instead, learn to use the bus system. You’ll save on gas and get little mini-workouts walking to the bus station.
Basically, look for opportunities to get moving wherever you can find them.
Take Daily Walks
Choose a scenic route through a park or a really pretty part of town and go for short walks at a certain time every day. Not only does this get everyone off their butts, it also gives you a time to engage with your children and point out interesting things as you pass them, nurturing curiosity and camaraderie in addition to the benefit from the light exercise.
Go for a Swim
Swimming makes you move pretty much every muscle in your body, it’s a great way to cool off, and is a blast for kids. You don’t even have to make your kids swim laps (although you can certainly do so while they goof off, as long as there’s a lifeguard or someone else you trust watching them), as they’re likely to have tons of fun just playing around. Fun, cooling off, and exercise; it’s a win-win-win!
Throw a Dance Party
Or have one every week. Dancing is a great way to move around and have fun at the same time. Invite some friends and have a blast!