2013 just came to an end and many people are reflecting on the things they did or planned to do this past year. I’m sure that family fitness was one of the things on that list.
Do you see areas that your family missed the mark or could improve on when it comes to being active? Are you trying to model good fitness habits, but your family just doesn’t seem to be on board with your efforts?
I can honestly say that family fitness can be challenging. This is especially true with a large family, a working mom, and other pressures thrown into the mix. Here are my top 5 tips for family fitness in 2014:
#1 Make it Mandatory
Yes, I know that requiring your children to get active might create some grumblings. Children have to understand that getting the family out and active isn’t a choice. It’s a no-brainer that if you give most children the option to come on a hike or stay inside and play on their computer, they will choose the electronic entertainment. Instead, make it mandatory. Consider including the family outing with other errands. For example, go for a family hike and then go to the grocery store or out to lunch.
#2 Make it a Family Activity
The idea of getting active might be more appealing to children if everyone in the family is participating. Create regular family outings. For example, can you ride your bikes or walk to school together? In the evenings before or after dinner, can you go for a walk as a family? Can larger activities like hikes, be planned for the weekend? Would it be possible for the family to share in seasonal activities together?
#3 Model Good Fitness Behavior
You’ve heard the idiom: ”Do as I say, not as I do.” When it comes to fitness, that will not work because children really do pay attention to what you do. They are more likely to live an active lifestyle if they see you doing the same. Remember to be and speak positively when you are exercising with the kids. Your aim is to help to dismiss the notion in children that exercise is a chore.
#4 Limit Time with Electronics
If your ultimate goal is to keep your family fit in 2014, consider giving your children a screen time allowance. Decide on a realistic amount of time daily or weekly that children will spend watching tv, surfing the net, playing video games, or texting on their phones. Once they’ve used their allowance — No more screen time! Once the electronics are turned off, there will be a greater chance of them going outside to play.
#5 Make it fun
It’s important to remember to find activities that you and your children enjoy. Save activities that only the parents enjoy for other times. Instead family fitness should incorporate activities that you all can enjoy. Paying attention to the likes and dislikes of your children makes them feel like they are important as a member of the family. This can help to develop in them a more positive attitude about exercise.
Getting your family fit in 2014 will be about changing your family fitness habits, but it can be done. If you’re reading this then you want to make those changes. Make a goal to start today and most of all have fun!
Need a fun way to learn basic fitness styles? Check out Fitness in a Box Board Game.
Be sure to join us tomorrow for ways to stay motivated to exercise during the winter.
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