Staying active is important at any age. But does your family head to the television after dinner and become couch potatoes? Do your children spend a lot of time playing video games for their entertainment? If so, it’s time to make a plan to get everyone moving.
There are lots of benefits to being physically active as a family. It creates great family memories and strengthens family bonding. This feeling of being connected contributes to everyone’s health and well-being. It improves children’s thinking skills as physically active children tend to have longer attention spans and improved memory skills. Active children also tend to have fewer behavioral and disciplinary problems. It also helps suppress hormones that cause stress and anxiety.
When you do physical activities together as a family, everyone is learning about healthy lifestyle choices. Physical Activity can help prevent heart disease, maintain a healthy weight, and help children do better in school. Additionally, family activities and fitness at a young age can go a long way toward helping children develop lifelong healthy habits.
Kids need an average of 60 minutes of activity every day. There are many ways to make sure they get that time in, and it doesn’t all have to be at the same time. When exercise feels like play, it is easier to enjoy by everyone. The best way to begin increasing your family’s physical activities is to schedule time for it.
There are countless ways to enjoy physical activity together as a family. Here are 7 ideas to help you get started.
Every day can use a little dancing! Dance parties are a lot of fun, and they don’t have to be a part of a celebration. How can you get your kids off the couch? Play some of their favorite music. Freeze dance is a great way to improve their listening comprehension. The rules are simple, dance when there’s music and freeze when it stops.
Walking and running are the easiest forms of exercise available. They also are ideal to burn some of that limitless energy kids can have. To make it a family event, take a stroll after dinner or sign up for a charity walk/run and train for the event together. And even when the weather is not cooperating, you can still enjoy indoor activities like fitness centers, indoor sports, or walking around the mall.
3. Yoga activities
Everyone in the family can benefit from yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices. Anyone of any age, gender, or race can engage in the practice of yoga. From the very first day of practice, yoga’s positive effects can be seen. You’ll feel lighter, calmer and more optimistic.
4. Make Time to Play
Set aside 30 minutes three times a week to do fun physical activities with your kids. If your kids are young, they might like hopscotch or hide-and-seek. With older children, you can kick a soccer ball around or shoot some hoops. Also, plan at least one family activity every weekend. It can be as simple as time at the playground or as challenging as an all-day hike.
5. Make Household Chores Fun
Make chores a fun, family affair! Set aside time for everyone to do them together, play music as you clean, and take turns choosing your favorite songs. Race to see who can finish their list of tasks first. Younger children can pick up toys or sweep floors, and older kids can dust, vacuum, and help make beds—all while dancing and having fun.
6. Make Yard Work Less of a Chore
Enjoy seasonal yard work together. During the spring and summer months, everyone can get their hands dirty in the garden to work on something they can tend to and feel proud of. Younger children can help with planting, watering, and picking up sticks. In the fall, older kids can rake leaves into a pile, then everyone jumps in it. Even in the winter, you can have fun in the snow by making a fort or a family of snow people.
7. Turn off the Electronics
One of the biggest things you can do to help get your family moving is to limit screen time. Experts warn that 1-2 hours of screen time a day should be the limit for children. So set boundaries, keep the television and electronics out of your child’s bedroom, and limit computer usage to only school projects.
There are so many ways to get your family moving and so many benefits to come of it. More strength, better sleep, fewer headaches, less stress, and better health are just some of the physical and psychological benefits of exercise. Even more, maintaining a healthy lifestyle together improves social development and emotional regulation. When families have fun and move together, they get healthy together.
From the LiFT Wellness Center to our West Tennessee Medical Group locations, West Tennessee Healthcare can help your family get more active. And our healthcare professionals are here to get you ready with a physical. To schedule an appointment at one of our clinics across West Tennessee, click here.