Exercise is important for your family as it can increase life expectancy, lower heart risks, help control weight, and improve school performance... and it helps kids to burn off some energy.
Plus, perhaps most importantly, because inactive children are likely to become inactive adults, making family activities and fitness part of your child's life at an early age can go a long way towards helping them form healthy habits for life.
Here are five ideas for family fitness that can get you all moving:
1. Make time to play Set aside 30 minutes three times a week to do fun exercises with your children. Make it a part of your after-school or after-dinner routine. If your kids are young, they might enjoy hopscotch or hide-and-seek. Kick a soccer ball around with older children.
2. Walk or cycle everywhere you can Use muscle power: bike or walk to the grocery store, library, or to your child's school or sports events. Go for a 30-minute family walk after dinner instead of heading right for the television. Use a family exercise log or colourful stickers to track your progress. Put your log or chart on the refrigerator as a reminder to keep up the good effort together.
3. Plan active family gatherings Serve up family fitness as well as food at your child's birthday party by planning active games such as tag or relay races. Older kids might enjoy throwing a dance party. At family or holiday gatherings, turn off the TV and take a walk around the neighborhood or go for a short hike at a local park. Or get everyone outside for a game of catch or shooting hoops.
4. Sing and dance while you clean Set aside time for household chores and do them together as a family. Play music as you clean, and take turns choosing favourite songs. Younger children love to help out and can pick up toys or sweep floors while dancing with the broom. Older kids can dust, vacuum, and help make beds.
5. Make garden work less of a chore for more family exercise Enjoy seasonal garden work together. Younger children can help plant and tend a garden. Older kids can rake leaves into a pile and then jump in it.