Get Your Family Up And Running!
If there’s one resolution worth keeping in 2017, it’s getting your family up and running and making a conscious effort to be more active. The importance of regular exercise for children and adults cannot be underestimated. If you’re keen to inject some more energy into family life, here are some ideas to try, and some more information about the health benefits of moving more.
Easy ways to encourage your children to be more active
Be honest. Do your kids tend to prefer watching TV or playing computer games to running around the garden or going to soccer club? If so, you’re not alone. Research suggests that kids live a more sedentary lifestyle than ever before. There’s nothing wrong with watching a couple of programs from time to time, but it’s important to encourage children to be active. If you find it tough to get your children off the sofa or out of their bedrooms, here are some tips.
Spending time together is really important, doing fun activities that will get your hearts racing is a great way to bond, and reap some important health benefits. Try and plan enjoyable days out for the entire family, which revolve around getting your bodies moving and having fun at the same time. Take a cricket set, a baseball bat or a couple of badminton rackets to the park, go on a bike ride or hire some kayaks and go boating on the lake. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home if you don’t have much time available. You can easily play games in the backyard.
Encouraging friendly competition
We tend to try harder when there’s something on the line. If you have more than one child, encourage a little friendly competition by hosting a tournament or launching an ongoing competition. You could offer a prize for the first one to score a hole in one on the mini golf course or the first to score 10 goals for their soccer team. You could host an Olympics-style event at home with a series of challenges or run some races at the park. If there’s a big age difference, adapt the competition to make it fair. You can offer prizes, such as engraved glass trophies, for the winner.
Trying new things
When kids think of being active, they tend to assume that means doing drills or playing sports they learn in gym class. Team sports can be great for kids, but not all children excel in the sports that grab all the attention. If your child isn’t naturally talented on the baseball pitch or the football field, try new activities and find something they enjoy. Just because you’re not an outstanding quarterback doesn’t mean that you’re not sporty. You may be a brilliant rower, climber or cyclist, for example. Trying new sports can also make exercise more fun, and encourage children to set new goals and become more ambitious and confident.
Limiting screen time
If your children can usually be found curled up on the sofa, it’s a good idea to introduce limits so that they divide their time between the screen and other activities. Alternate playing games or watching movies with going for a walk, taking some games down to the beach or going swimming.
Giving up bad habits
Children learn from their parents, so it’s important that you set a good example. If you’re guilty of spending all your spare time watching box sets on the TV or you drive to a shop 100 meters down the road, it’s time to give up those bad habits. Leave the car at home and walk or cycle to the shops or to take the kids to school. Make a conscious effort to get out and about more, and take up some new hobbies. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Even minor changes can make a massive difference.
You’re more likely to do something if you know why it’s good for you. In the case of exercise, kids may be more inclined to get their bodies moving if they know why it’s beneficial for their health. Try and educate your children about the advantages of being active, and encourage them to ask questions.
The benefits of adopting an active lifestyle
When January comes around, it seems like everyone makes an effort to exercise, and usually, we associate this with losing weight after Christmas. Exercise is a very effective way of losing excess weight, but there are many other benefits too. Starting with weight loss, exercise is proven to reduce your risk of obesity. Obesity is one of the most worrying health issues facing both adults and children in the US. If you’re obese, you’re at risk of a host of problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some types of cancer, and strokes. Children who are obese have a high risk of becoming obese adults.
Being active keeps your heart healthy, and helps you to improve your strength, circulation, and endurance. It can also make a difference to your mental health. If you’re always on the move, you’re likely to feel happier, and there’s a much lower risk of sleep problems. Exercise is a proven stress-buster, and it can also provide an outlet for your emotions. If you feel angry, for example, kicking or hitting a ball can make you feel better instantly. Exercise can also aid development and growth in children, and it may also enable them to build confidence, find new friends, and learn new skills.
If you do one thing this year, get your family up and running. You don’t need to run a boot camp in the back garden, but try and be more active. Make exercise fun, get everyone involved, and try new things together as a family. Limit the time you spend indoors, and try and find activities that your kids really take to. If you adopt a more active lifestyle, you’ll soon notice the benefit. Good luck, and have fun!