Did you know that parents use their kids as their number one excuse for not working out?
Instead of blaming their lack of exercise on their offspring, parents should instead involve their children in their exercise efforts, thus ensuring that the entire family can get into better shape while spending quality time together.
If you thought that your children don’t need to exercise, you are unfortunately very wrong. British children are amongst the least active in the world according to a report by the NHS, making family fitness efforts such as the following of extreme importance.
Start a garden
Gardening is a fun activity for the entire family that can give you a full-body workout without you even knowing it. Whether you plant a vegetable, flower or butterfly garden, even the youngest members of the family can get fitter while having fun outdoors.
Raking is particularly good for working your core muscles while mowing the lawn can be an effective cardio workout. When you shovel soil, your back and arm muscles do most of the work, so expect to be slightly stiff and sore the next day.
Apart from helping your family get fit, gardening while the sun is shining will also provide your family with healthy doses of Vitamin D which are of vital importance in bone and teeth development and proper immune function.
Go for a hike
Hiking not only allows you to connect with nature but also gets your heart pumping and your legs working. While the entire family can benefit from a hike, it is important to make certain provisions when taking children outdoors such picking trails that can be easily navigated by anyone and using a child carrier for toddlers.
Alongside the physical benefits of hiking such as: improved cardiovascular fitness, and stronger legs, it’s also important to realise the mental benefits. Walking does wonders for your mind, helping you to relax and unwind from work, while at the same time bonding with your family…
In a world full of technology, where there’s always a new email or notification… it’s good to get outdoors in natural light, breathing in fresh air and spending quality time with the people you love. It’s not only good for your children but you as a parent.
Remember to pack enough water and easy-to-carry snacks if you plan to be out for an extended period of time. Also, don’t forget to wear protective clothing and lather on the sunscreen to prevent anyone from ending up with a nasty sunburn.
Cycle and swim
Apart from being tremendous fun, cycling is a great way for the entire family to get fit together. You can go as fast or as slow as you want and decide whether you want to cycle around the neighbourhood, in the park or on a mountain, forest or beach trail. Irrespective of where you cycle, you will be subjected to a good cardio workout.
Like cycling, swimming is an activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Even younger family members that can’t swim independently yet can benefit from splashing in the water while wearing a swim vest or armbands. Recreational swimming is generally more enjoyable than swimming lengths of a pool and even an hour in the pool can give the whole family a good workout.
Swimming and cycling are also low impact exercises which are more joint friendly. They are good for both you and your children.
Finally, You can also turn both of these activities into games e.g:
Swimming – racing to the other end of the swimming pool, or seeing who can doggy paddle the longest.
Cycling – doing laps around the track, or looking out for certain objects, or going on fun adventures to new parks and locations.
Do what works for you and your family…
How you choose to get fit as a family is irrelevant. What is important is that you make effort to engage in activities that will allow the family to bond while also improving their fitness and boosting their overall well-being. Set time aside at least one to three times a week to get active with your loved ones and be prepared to be blown away by what a difference just 30-60 minutes of exercise can do for you all.
Here’s to the future of your family health.
Nick Screeton – founder of LEP Fitness