Despite the seemingly endless benefits that physical activity has for your health, most families are still not very active. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that that just over 20 percent of adults are meeting the recommended guidelines for physical activity. The trend extends to kids too - children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (TV, videogames, computer). Since inactive children are more likely to become inactive adults, it’s vital for parents to make fun fitness part of their children’s lives at an early age, so they adopt healthy habits of their own.
Here are eight ideas for family activities that will get you all moving!
1. Plan a Family Scavenger Hunt
One great way to get your kids away from all the electronics is to organize a family scavenger hunt. The best part about scavenger hunts is that you can do them anywhere, whether you are at home, at a park or on vacation! Some inspiration for scavenger hunts can include hunting for certain items in nature or going to the zoo and searching for specific animals.
2. Host a Family Olympics
The best part about hosting a family Olympics is you don’t have to be a world-class athlete to participate! Hosting your take on the Olympics is the perfect excuse to rally up your friends and family for some old-fashioned fun. You don’t need much to pull off these games: just some designated open space and easy-to-use props.
3. Make Household Chores Fun
Vacuuming, sweeping, walking the dog, raking the leaves and even loading the dishwasher work your muscles and burn calories. Make chores a fun, bonding activity by turning up the music as you work together as a family.
4. Family Fitness Night
Designate one evening each week as a family fitness night. Each week, a different member of your family can choose the activity that you will all do together. Whether it’s jogging, yoga, rollerblading, basketball or a soccer game - everyone gets to do something they enjoy, and the workout never becomes dull!
5. Plan Outdoor Activities
Spending time outside as a family will not only give you a healthy dose of Vitamin D, but is also an easy way to meet your fitness goals. Swimming, biking, canoeing and walking are great summer activities, while hockey, ice skating and sledding are great activities for the winter months.
6. Family Fun Day
Days spent at the museum, theme parks, the pumpkin patch or the zoo not only offer an array of interesting activities, but also incorporate a lot of walking.
7. Volunteer Together
Volunteering will not only allow a parent to spend time with their children, but the family will learn about the joy of helping others, and make the world a better place. If your child likes animals, volunteer to walk dogs at the shelter, or if they love nature, initiate a trail cleanup!
8. Wii Fitness
If your kids love video games, why not take advantage of it? Wii Fitness offers an array of fun sports games that incorporate movement that will keep your children moving indoors as we enter the colder months.
This article was originally published on September 22, 2014.
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These bonding activities will not only help your family spend quality time together, but will also help incorporate fitness into your daily lives. Have more questions about starting a fitness plan? Contact your family medicine physician today.