With kids spending more time in front of the TV and playing video games with less time outside playing, it is no wonder childhood obesity and juvenile Type 2 diabetes is at an all-time high.
If you like to exercise, get your whole family involved. Not only will it create some good family quality time, but it will instill good fitness habits in your kids.
Make it Family Fitness Fun
For kids to enjoy physical activity, it has to be fun for them. Swimming, sports and outdoor games all make getting exercise more enjoyable. Activities, such a flag football or kickball, can spark the competitive spirit to see who the “best” is. In the end, you are all winners!
Develop Your Family Fitness Plan Around a Cause
Exercising for your own well-being is one thing, however, it is not necessarily a cause shared by your kids, so make your family fitness activities benefit something. There are always “k” or fun runs of various distances for the whole family that raise money to support various organizations.
Scour your neighborhood and solicit pledges of money that will go to your cause when you finish the event. Your kids will get a sense of satisfaction knowing their efforts are helping out somewhere.
Plan a Monthly Family Fitness Activity
Kids like to look forward to things and what better thing to look forward to than a monthly family outing. If the weather is nice, plan to go on some nature hikes together or swimming. Afterward, enjoy a healthy picnic lunch.
In the fall, go to an orchard and pick your own apples or other fruit. Not only will you get exercise, but fruits are good for you to eat. If you get winter weather in your area, ice-skating, skiing or snowboarding are all great ways to get exercise.
Join a Family Friendly Gym
Kids love adventurous activities that challenge them. Find a gym that offers a rock climbing wall, kickboxing or martial arts. Not only will they get a lot of exercise doing these activities, but they will develop self-confidence in themselves. A high self-esteem leads to a more enjoyable life for them and decreases the chances depression, bullying or other self-destruction tendencies.
Set the Example
Generally kids look up to their parents. By you exercising regularly and eating nutritiously, they will adopt a similar healthy lifestyle as they grow up. Not only will they live a healthier life, but they will be more inclined to pass it onto their kids. Your actions today can set the example for a healthy lifestyle for generations to come.
How To Turn Your TV Time Into Family Workout Time
Many of us get into a routine of watching our favorite TV shows while sitting on the couch. But what if we could watch TV and exercise at the same time? Not only would be avoid the temptation to eat snacks that pack calories we don’t need, but we could burn some calories in the process. Avoiding calories and burning calories too – a win/win situation! Here is how to do it.
During the TV show, focus on doing several toning exercises while holding 5 to 8 lb. dumbbells. Do 10 to 15 repetition of each exercise until an advertisement comes on. During the advertisement, drop the weights and switch it up by doing cardio exercises. Once the advertisement is over, grab your weights and switch back to toning.
Good static toning exercises – basically exercising in the same space – include:
- overhead presses
- one-armed rows
- tricep extensions
All of these exercises work large muscle groups. As your muscles develop over time, they will require more calories to perform the same work. If you control the other variable – what you eat – you’ll lose weight.
Some good cardio static exercises include:
- jumping jacks
- virtual jump roping (jumping rope, but without the rope)
- jogging in place
Cardio during commercials is a good way to get your metabolism revved up. And the good thing is that it will stay up long after you are finished.
Taking It to the Next Level
If you have an elliptical trainer or treadmill, you can place either one in your TV room and exercise while watching your favorite shows. If on a treadmill, one idea is to walk during the show and run during the advertisements. If using an elliptical trainer, you exercise at a moderate steady pace during the show and increase your speed during commercials.
Alternating between static toning exercises and cardio during a 30-minute to one hour show, will get your heart pumping and develop muscles, all of which burn additional calories. Research has shown that even small bursts of exercise can burn an additional 500 calories per day.
Burn 500 more calories per day than you take in and in a week, you will have lost one pound. Losing a pound or two per week is a safe and practical weight loss. Diets that have you losing a lot of weight fast are not good as most of the weight you lose is water weight – most of which you will put back on once off the diet.
If you’re using an exercise machine you can rotate family members using it or switching back and forth between two or more devices. Another great activity is to combine dog walking with your family fitness plan.