With the lure of TV and the Internet, it’s often too easy to just flop down and become absorbed for hours on end by the latest sitcoms and reality shows or the latest blogs and funny videos. While these activities are undeniably fun, they leave you glued to the couch or computer chair. It’s important to remember that getting off the couch and doing fun, active things as a family is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Here are 10 easy ways to help your family stay active and healthy and have a great time doing it.
Take a Walk After Dinner
Going for a walk in the evening has many benefits. Not only is it good exercise, which helps aid in digestion, but strolling down the sidewalk with your family is also a great way to unwind after a long day. Encourage each member to talk about his or her day, which helps pass the time away. Before you know it, you’ve walked two or three kilometres.
Spruce Up Your Backyard
Get your family out of the house and into the yard to get some exercise and some chores done at the same time. Set them up with gardening tools and brooms to get your backyard free of weeds, cleaned and ready to use. A clean backyard is an inviting one – whether just for your family or to have friends over to enjoy with you. By the end of the summer they’ll see the fruits of their labor when tomatoes come up or fall flowers are in bloom.
Take a Class
Exercise classes offered through your local gym or recreation center are great ways to keep your family active, and they are much more fun than just going to the gym and lifting weights or running on a treadmill! Try a groovy dance class like Zumba to really get your family moving. You’ll have so much fun you won’t even think of it as exercise!
When your kids are off for the summer, how do you keep them active when all they want to do is kick back on the couch? Sign them up for fun summer activities like swimming lessons. Getting them out of the house a few times a week will be beneficial for both you and them. An exhausted son or daughter sleeps better and more soundly and makes for happier and stress-free parents. Keep the idea of being active fun by offering a cool treat after they climb out of the pool like a healthy, delicious popsicle made with real fruit juices.
Sign Up for Sports
Sports are some of the best ways to stay active for all members of the family. Your kids can get involved with their school teams, and depending on what sports they’re interested in, they can stay active most or all year long this way. Sports aren’t just for kids, either. There are plenty of adult leagues around looking for new members, so check your community bulletin boards or ask around. It could be swimming, soccer, or baseball. Whatever it is, it’s certain to keep them active and off the couch.
Go Take a Hike!
If you live near mountains or even hills, get your hiking boots on and bring the family, some healthy snacks (nuts, fruit, granola) and lots and lots of water. If you are not used to hiking, take it slowly. Start with the smallest hike, ½ - 1 kilometre. Gradually move up to the 3, 4, 5 and 6 kilometre hikes. It’s a great way to exercise, take in the fresh air and have bragging rights that you made it to the top, which almost always boasts spectacular views.
Get a Dog
There is an expression that says, “If your dog is fat, you’re not getting enough exercise.” One way to ensure your kids and you are getting lots of exercise is to go to your local shelter and get a dog. Hector or Simba is going to need lots of exercise and who better to accompany him or her than your kids. Walks around the block, playing fetch in the backyard or taking him or her hiking are all great ways to get the kids out there and your new dog happy.
Active Indoor Games
If your family is dragging their feet about outdoor activities, or you just want to change things up, you can stay in and still be active! Here’s how:
Push aside the coffee table and set up a beanbag toss game in the living room. You can use a pre-made set if you happen to have one, or you can easily improvise with cardboard boxes and pillows, small bags filled with whatever you have on hand, or small foam balls. For another fun indoor activity, pull out some old scarves and dance around the house – this is especially fun for younger kids. Alternatively, pick up some cheap pom poms at a local party store and choreograph an active cheerleading routine.
Designate An ‘Active Spot’
If you have the space, designate part of a large room like your basement or family room as an ‘active play spot.’ Put something active in this space like an indoor basketball hoop or a hopscotch outline. If your kids have ride-on toys, you can set up a track for them to zoom down and around for a really great time.
Help your family stay active and get help with the housework at the same time! Dusting, cleaning the bathroom counters and mirrors, taking out the trash, vacuuming, mopping and recycling are simple things kids can do when you ask or as regular chores. Why should you get to have all the fun cleaning your house?
It’s important to make sure your family stays active and healthy. As you can see from these ten easy tips, it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to make sure they don’t spend too much time sacked out on the couch or computer chair. Not only will you and your family be getting great exercise, but you’ll be having fun too!
The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.