by: Shannon Rowley
With childhood obesity at an all-time high it is important to keep our children and family active. The CDC recommends that children get at least one hour of physical activity per day. This should include both aerobic and strength activity. For adults, the National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. So, why not make family fitness a priority and get those active minutes in together?
As a society we tend to separate these activities. Some of us pound away at the gym day after day then cart our kids of to sporting events and various activities throughout the day. This becomes time consuming and difficult to find balance. The trend is to then stop altogether when it gets to be too much. To keep this from happening, wouldn’t it make sense to combine some of those activities together? Family fitness is the way to go.
There are many things you can do as a family to keep family fitness a prominent part of your life no matter what age children you have. For instance, if you have a toddler who can walk, have them walk around the grocery store instead of in the cart for the first part of your trip. Or, have a dance party in the living room. For older children, play your family favorite sporting event or get to your child’s event early and warm up with them before game time. You can go for a run/walk before dinner a couple times a week. There are many family friendly 5k races at every time of the year. You can even make watching TV a family activity by doing jumping jacks or push-ups at every commercial break. Some gyms, including Blue wave, allow children to join with their parents as early as age 14. Go to a fitness class together. You may be surprised how much your kids want to beat you at an activity.
Keeping family fitness as an everyday activity in our households will promote a positive family dynamic and a sense of unity. Children will come to expect this as an everyday occurrence and once you have established a pattern it will become more of a routine and less of a “chore”. It will also help children improve stamina and agility for sports as they get older. Establishing these fitness patterns at early stages in life make it easier on a child to continue with it as an adult, they will be less likely to struggle with weight and medical issues later in life if this is established early. Not to mention, spending quality time with your kids and maybe even getting a little competitive while you’re at it. Family fitness is a great way to stay connected to one another and stay healthy as a whole.