Some parents just finished the role of in home teacher for the first time…now fitness instructor? The thought of fitting something else into the daily routine is exhausting! But there is always time to have fun. Which begs the question: How do you make family fitness an enjoyable daily activity in your household?
People always say that the hardest part about exercise is showing up. But these “people” have never tried to motivate children to make it past 5 minutes of sweating. Way more difficult. Before outlining family fitness activities, there are a few ways to incentivize kids to show up and sustain a workout.
What motivates your kids? Is it screen time? Is it quality time? Any number of things can be rewarded as an incentive to exercise. One option includes a minute of screen time for each minute of exercise. Before you know it, your child will be running marathons. Only sort of joking. Or if screen time is not a motivator, have a fun activity waiting at the end of each workout. Regardless of the incentive, making family fitness a priority is always possible.
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Now, not a whole lot of people have gyms inside their homes. While you may secretly aspire to look like Dwayne Johnson, photos of his home fitness facility rival 24 Hour Fitness. In lieu of professional-grade equipment, there are a number of household items you can use to practice family fitness in your home. A quick list includes:
- Hand weight replacements. You can use just about anything to substitute as hand weights. From water bottles to soup cans to wine bottles, you can Macgyver something to use as hand weights.
- Use a chair or the wall. The wall or a chair back offer great support if your family fitness routine includes ballet or balance work.
- Jump rope. You may have to ask your kiddos for help on this one – but dig out the old jump rope. Or pogo stick. Or skip it. Oh, the skip it.
You have heard the age-old phrase “the more you put in, the more you get out”. Family fitness is no different. One way to keep exercise a part of your daily life is by shifting your focus to keep health consciousness top of mind. A few tips on how to do this:
- Drink lots of water. The Mayo Clinic confirms that drinking 8 eight-ounce cups of water 8 times a day is an attainable goal especially if exercising.
- Wear supportive tennis shoes. Know your feet and whether or not you require extra arch support. This will not only help your feet but your back.
- Stretch. Making stretching part of your family fitness routine will help keep everyone flexible and strong and aid in sustaining your range of motion.
- Wear sunscreen. Obviously.
- Eat protein after exercise. US News and World Report stress the importance of eating protein following the completion of a workout which allows muscles to recover and grow. Failing to do this can actually prevent muscle growth.
Read More: Why Moms Need Exercise
So, you get it. Family fitness is super great and is ideally made part of your daily routine. But aside from running laps around the block, how do you make it fun and sustainable? The following includes a list of age appropriate exercises to incorporate into your family fitness plan.
Exercises appropriate for kids 5 and under:
- Jumping jacks. See if you can sustain jumping jacks for two minutes straight. Not as easy as it sounds.
- Tag. Freeze tag. Zombie tag. Lava monster tag. Whatever your child’s favorite iteration, tag offers a great way to make exercise fun for young children.
- Burpees. Yes. No one likes burpees. They are truly horrible. But burpees are the perfect exercise to help your heart rate spike getting your body cardiovascular exercise which is important for overall health.
- Crunches. Or sit ups. Either way, you (or your children) will have abdominal definition in no time.
- High knees. Pick ’em up put ’em down!
- Sprints. Time your kids and have them time you. Challenge family members to beat their best time every opportunity you have a race.
- Dance party (#alldayeveryday)
Exercises for kids 6+ (all younger exercises plus the following):
- Jumping squats and jumping reverse lunges. See how high you can get and how low you can squat.
- Hand weight exercises. Whether working biceps, triceps, shoulders or chest, using hand weights (or an at home substitute) to exercise can improve the upper body strength of a plethora of muscles. Make it a competition with your kiddo!
- Rollerblading. Super fun and a great cardio workout.
- Push ups. Set a family fitness goal (i.e. 20 push ups without stopping) and work every day to reach and exceed that goal.
- Planks. Increase the goal time as your family fitness routine matures. Holding a plank for a minute may seem impossible, but when practicing every day, your family will crush it.
- Resistant band exercises. Great for leg exercises or pairing with hand weights.
- Riding bikes. Bike to an ice cream store that just happens to be five miles away. It’s amazing what a little incentive will do!
All parents strive to provide an example that will mold their children into happy and healthy adults. Family fitness is one way to help your children develop healthy habits that will set them up for success in the future. So grab some running shoes and get moving!
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