How To Make Fitness Fun For the Whole Family
Parents, how many times have you felt a pang of guilt for working out when you could be spending quality time with your kids?
This nagging guilt (however irrational), is all too real, and it sucks. But here’s the truth: Exercise enables you to be your best, strongest and healthiest self, which is the only way you can take care of your family to the best of your ability.
Not only is working out essential to your sanity and your health, but your kids benefit big-time when you make fitness a priority in your life. Since we all need a reminder every once in a while, let’s first explore why self-care is the farthest thing from selfish. Then, we’ll share some of our favorite ways to make fitness a family affair.
Why you have to put your own oxygen mask on first
At the risk of beating a dead horse, we’re living in stressful and unprecedented times. Because we’re fighting a virus that doesn’t have yet a treatment, a strong immune system is your best defense. Exercise, which is known to boost your immunity, is more important now than ever before.
Not only does staying active keep you in shape, but it relieves stress and boosts your mood, which makes for a better atmosphere in your home. It’s also a wonder for giving you more energy to keep up with your little Tasmanians: Research shows that regular physical activity is better at revving energy levels than stimulant medications.
We all know that kids are sponges, so when you show them that staying active is important even in stressful times (neigh, especially in stressful times), you’re setting them up for a lifetime of healthy habits. You’re also giving them a more relaxed, clear-headed parent, one who has the energy to chase them around the yard and play with them for years to come.
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Get the whole gang moving
First things first: No matter how pressed for time you are, you deserve your sacred solo workouts. But sometimes, it’s just not possible to get to the gym, and that’s okay — there’s plenty of fun ways to involve your kids in your fitness regimen. You might even be surprised by how it feels more like play.
Here’s a few of our favorite kid- and parent-approved ideas!
Boot camp. Your kids will go crazy at the chance to be the leader and guide the family through the drills and moves of their choosing! You can even encourage them to create a fitness instructor persona or character to help them get really into it. Or, challenge each kid to create a backyard obstacle course using cones or household objects to add in some creative cardio.
Have them teach you something. Kids jump at the chance to talk about the things they love, and they get even more excited when you (the adult!) ask them to teach you something. Maybe it’s how to do a lay-up in basketball, throw a spiral, roller skate like the best of ‘em or whatever it is that they’re naturally interested in. It’s also a wonderful way to bond with your child and learn more about them.
Have a Nerf fight. Hey, it counts as cardio…just make sure the most reliable athlete is on your team!
Yoga freeze tag. Kids reap all the same feel-good benefits that adults do from yoga. Getting them engaged just requires a little creativity! Here’s how it works: If you get tagged, you have to take a downward-facing dog. To get unfrozen, another player has to do a cat-cow pose beneath you. Feel free to use your imagination and switch up these poses to keep it fresh.
Cleaning competition. Why not try to squeeze in the double benefit of cleaning and fitness in one heart-pumping session? Capitalize on the powers of sibling rivalry and challenge your kids to see who can get the most done before their favorite song is over.
Family dance party. If you don’t post it on Tik Tok, did it really happen? Nah, we’re totally kidding. There’s really just so many benefits to getting the whole gang moving and grooving. It’s a great way to shake off stress, torch calories and access the same rush as a runner’s high in a way that’s pure fun…what more can you ask for?
Post-dinner walks. This one is the most simple, but the benefits can’t be overstated. Kids tend to feel more comfortable opening up when they’re engaged in an activity side-by-side (rather than face to face), so it’s also a great way to initiate deeper conversations. If you have a family pet, include them in the fun! Family bike rides are just as beneficial, too.
Want more on family fitness?
The CA Parents’ Corner blog is stacked with ideas on nutrition, wellness, exercise and keeping the whole clan healthy and happy during this turbulent time. Check it out!