Running, walking, biking, swimming, playing Frisbee, cleaning the house, jumping on a trampoline, going bowling … the list goes on and on. When it comes to fitness, the whole family can benefit and have fun — and the best part is, no gym membership is required. With so many activities, there are no excuses to have fun and get healthy together.
Not only is regular exercise good for you physically, it can also help with emotional and mental health as well. And, it’s not just about losing weight. Personally, I have a hard time gaining weight, so I exercise for a better quality of life. Exercise reduces your risk for chronic conditions as well.
So what are you waiting for? Here are some excellent ways to get the whole family moving:
- Exercise for a good cause. Ah, my favorite! Every year I get involved in the holiday fun runs in my city. There are endless opportunities for 1K and 5K runs. I also fund raise for certain charities by walking or biking in their events. I get my family, and the dog, to participate with me so we are all benefiting.
- Invest in a dog. My second favorite, for sure! Dogs are soft and cuddly companions, but they also need to be walked, every day. Having a dog will get you outside for walks or a game of Frisbee. They make great companions for a hike in the woods.
- Get outside. Hike, swim, cycle, jog, or simply walk. Walking is easy on the joints and you don’t need any fancy equipment. If the weather is hot, get in a pool and swim. Swimming is one of the best exercises as it’s a mixture of cardio and resistance training and it’s easy on your joints.
- Be silly. Start a game of Twister with the family. Play upbeat music and recreate those dance moves from high school. Hula hooping always brings out a laugh or two. Be creative!
- Yard work. In the fall, give the kids a rake and have them help you clear the yard. Once you have your leaf piles high enough, go ahead and dive in. They can also help pick up the acorns. When spring comes around, get everyone involved in starting a garden. Gardening is considered moderate exercise, as you are using major muscle groups to dig, bend, and lift. And, you’ll have healthy food and herbs in your backyard. In the winter, the older kids can help shovel the snow. In the summertime, task a teenager, or husband, to lawn mowing. Actually, mowing the lawn is another favorite activity of mine. I like the satisfaction of a great looking yard.
- House cleaning. Hmm, not my favorite, but there’s always a job for everyone. Someone can vacuum, another can dust. There’s always laundry to do and dishes to be washed. Put on a fun housecleaning dance mix and get going. A clean house is a happy home.
- Take turns picking activities. Choose a night to plan out the weekend’s activities together. Take turns allowing a family member to choose an activity. This is a time to try new things, such as mini golf, cosmic bowling, tubing, or cross country skiing.
- Active video games. I love Wii® fitness games. If you don’t have a Wii console, you may want to invest in one. There are games that involve dancing, bowling, skiing, playing soccer, etc. These are sure to get you moving indoors when you want to exercise in the evening, or you can’t go out because of bad weather.
There you have it. And, those are just the tip of the iceberg. Pick one of the eight above to do tonight, if you have nothing else planned. Experts agree you have to be active for at least 30 minutes for there to be a benefit. Try to implement some form of exercise every day.
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What are your favorite ways to get and stay in shape with your family? We want to know!