Did you know that January is Family Fit Lifestyle Month? What a great excuse to get out and exercise as a family! Of course, sometimes that can be easier said than done. Here are 4 tips to help your family develop a fun exercise routine, together. Scroll to the end to download a family activity planner.
Tip #1: Consider Your Interests
If you have a child who is firmly against playing basketball, then trying to form a family basketball team is probably not in the cards for you. Save your energy and skip that battle, looking instead for something that everyone might enjoy. Brainstorm ideas as a family, writing out each contribution, and then narrow the list from there. Some of our favorite family exercise activities include touring the neighborhood on our bikes and/or scooters, building obstacle courses in the backyard or living room and then timing each other as we race through them, going for a jog on a nearby nature path, setting up a weightlifting routine with water bottles and canned goods instead of actual weights, planning and then completing a "boot camp" regimen with a different person leading each set of exercises, playing "giant" soccer with a tennis ball instead of a soccer ball (you feel like a giant with such a tiny ball, and the smaller size calls for more precise maneuvering), etc. Have fun and be creative!
Tip #2: Mix it Up
Don't let your routine become a rut. There are lots of fun things to do together, so be sure to mix up your plans once in a while. These can be tiny changes, like switching from sit-ups to planks once a week, or you can do something completely different every once in a while, like playing tennis with your tennis ball instead of "giant" soccer. Be sure to keep it fresh and check in with the rest of your family to make sure that everyone is still having fun.
Tip #3: Take a Break
Every once in a while, you will need to skip a workout. Perhaps someone in your family is under the weather, at an after-school activity, or needs to study for an exam. Go ahead and take a break. If these breaks start to be called for too frequently, then you might need to rework your routine/expectations.
Tip #4: Stay Committed
It's important to stay committed to your new routine or every excuse will become a reason to skip a workout. If the fun of your games and programs isn't reward enough, consider setting up a reward system for each workout. We've had good luck with motivation by setting up a picture of a mountain and "climbing" it, marking the miles we've ridden on our bikes on a picture of the mountain's face. Once we have ridden enough miles to have gone the equivalent of the height of the mountain, we get a new bike accessory. Once we started logging more mileage, we changed our schematic from the mountain's height to the length of the trails that people take to get to the top, or even the number of miles it would take to bike to the next state. Other fun ways to track progress include setting up a chart with each family member's name on it, then marking each day of the month. Every day that a family member exercises, he or she gets a sticker to put on the chart. Or you can offer a "get out of ____ chore free" card to the person who is most enthusiastic about the workouts of the week. Play around and figure out what works best for your family.
If you'd like more inspirational exercise tips, then you'll love the materials we've got in our store! They're perfect for aiding motivation and providing inspiration.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.