Living an active lifestyle may start with the individual, but a team of supporters and role models in your corner can make a world of difference. If you’re a parent looking to promote healthy living, fitness and exercise with your child, one of the best things you can do is join in on the fun with family activities.
Tom Katz, Marshfield Clinic Health System physical therapist, offers family-fun tips on how you can make staying active part of your routine.
“Instilling active lifestyle habits for the whole family has significant mental and physical health benefits,” Katz said. “It helps instill strong family bonds, teamwork and communication skills with each other.”
Activities that encourage family fun indoors and outdoors
When you start planning ways to stay fit, it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many ways you can live an active lifestyle with things right in your home or neighborhood.
“Many physical activities that families can do together are affordable and budget friendly,” Katz said. “It can be as simple as kicking a soccer ball, jogging around the subdivision or even dancing in the living room.”
Katz offers these ideas to help your family add in fitness or exercise activities:
- Play a sport together: Frisbee, whiffle ball, Nerf touch-football or four-square, any team sport is a great way to stay active as a family.
- Outdoor games: Activities like tag, hide-and-seek and hopscotch are always good options. “These games can help children stay fit, develop their hand-eye coordination and improve their stamina,” Katz said. “They are also great ways to learn teamwork, communication, sportsmanship and discipline.”
- Insert mini activities during the day: Each day is full of little opportunities to encourage a healthy lifestyle. “Instead of taking the elevator, try taking the stairs,” Katz said. “You can also park the car far from your child’s school to easily get some extra steps in.”
- Join your children in their pretend play: When children play pretend, it allows their imagination to run wild. And, when you join in on the fun, it’s an excellent way to bond and inspire creativity.
- Household chores as games: Make it a race to see who can clean their room fastest.
- Make a day out of it: Consider going cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, go to the zoo, walk to a beach or, grab a grill, pack a lunch and head to the park for an afternoon.
Family fitness options are limitless
These activities are just the tip of the iceberg. A wide variety of activities can keep the whole family active.
“Consider being outside and keeping it fun and simple,” Katz said. “We should all be active daily. It’s even better when you can get the family involved.”