Making the decision to start exercising is something that many people in our country struggle with every day. However, it’s something that many of us know that we need to be doing. I personally sat down recently to write out a plan that would motivate me to get started and help me to stick with what I am doing though the tough early stages. As I researched the topic, I found that a consistent theme in the advice columns that I found was to get a partner to work out with. It’s someone that you can be accountable to and it’s just always easier to do something when you know that you’ll have a friend to do it with. I started thinking more about this idea and realized that Phil had also recently expressed his desire to start exercising more. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that getting your entire family involved in a workout plan is the best way to keep it fun, keep yourself accountable and, most importantly, to share a healthy activity together. Since I’ve started this process, I thought I would share the top ten ways to exercise as a family that I’ve found to work:
- Go with “non-traditional” workouts – When we think “workout” I think that we tend to envision running or lifting weights. But in reality, a workout is anything that gets your heart pumping and gets you to work up a sweat for a prolonged period. Things like dancing with your kids in the living room, playing tag in the backyard or going for long family walks with the dog all count.
- Workouts can happen anywhere – Just like the first point, a workout doesn’t have to be “traditional” to be beneficial. Use the stairs at the mall instead of the escalator or park as far away from the store as you can.
- Make working out a game – If your kids are already familiar with video games then use that to your advantage. Make “achievements” that you can all reach and track it on a big poster board or make a daily chore into a game by adding in rules that aren’t usually there.
- Pick a time of day to do an easy workout – Families always work well when routine is involved. Set a time; say 30 minutes after dinner, to do a long family walk or a dance session. Once you set the routine, it will become second nature.
- Set workouts around other activities – If you love to watch football with your kids on Sundays, make Saturday night “Football Night” and go play in the backyard. Any game will work, just find a way to tie it in to an already scheduled (and liked) activity.
- Helping Others – Get involved in going door to door for charity or doing a walking 5K for a preferred organization.
- Yard Work is a great workout – Raking leaves, gardening, or cutting the lawn are all great workouts. Trade activities every week and do the work together.
- Use Rewards – Set goals and figure out a reward once those goals are reached. Maybe tickets to a game or a trip to a favorite restaurant.
- Let everyone have a say – Make sure you aren’t the only one choosing activities. Let everyone have a say in the scheduled workouts for the week.
- Keep it simple – Remember that rigorously walking the dog or a game of chase around the house is working out. Keep things simple and positive and you’ll be a healthier, happier family in no time at all.
Here are some more great articles with more fun family exercise ideas:
- Fit as a Family: The Family That Runs Together
- Getting Fit with Your Kids – It’s a Family Affair
- Burn Calories with Fun Family Fitness Activities
Do You Exercise as a family? What types of activities do you do?
— Diane Nassy(@philZENdia) May 15, 2012