What activities do you enjoy with your family? Some families plan movie nights or play board games, while others enjoy exploring new restaurants or devouring ice cream sundaes together. These are all fun ways to spend time with your loved ones, but they aren’t necessarily healthy. A shocking 95% of adults do not dedicate at least 30 minutes per day to a fitness routine, and approximately 67% of kids aren’t active on a daily basis. You can help reduce your family’s risk of becoming part of those statistics by trying the family-friendly fitness ideas below.
Instead of jumping in the car together, strap on some skates and cruise around the neighborhood. You and your kids can wear roller skates or rollerblades as you explore your surroundings. Make sure everyone wears knee pads and elbow pads to protect limbs from scratches and bruises, as well as helmets to shield their skulls during potential falls. Thousands of people are injured during skating-related falls each year, so it’s essential that you take these precautions before you slip into your skates.
If your neighborhood is hilly or has a lot of traffic, you may prefer to skate at a local rink. This is also a great option if you have young kids who don’t know how to skate. Skating rinks often offer roller skate walkers that provide support as kids learn basic moves.
Not into roller skating? Head to an ice skating rink with your loved ones, or grab your boards and visit a skate park. Consider hiring a trainer to help your family master basic moves if you don’t skate by foot or board regularly.
Visit the Playground
The playground is a fun, free place where you can get in shape with your family. Some playgrounds post signs requesting that people above a certain height or weight avoid the equipment, so keep that in mind before you race to the swings or slides. Even if you can’t use the equipment, you can still toss a ball to other family members or run around the exterior of the playground.
Unless you have babies or toddlers, you may want to avoid visiting the park early in the morning. Visit the park in the evening shortly before it closes, when some younger kids are in bed. This helps limit your chances of accidentally crashing into a young child as you play on or around the playground.
Explore the Woods
The Internet has billions of pages filled with facts and opinions, but researching nature doesn’t compare to experiencing it in person. Grab your backpacks and head to the woods for some quality time in a peaceful environment.
If you don’t regularly hike or walk trails that wind through the woods, you may be unsure what to bring. Here are some items to include in your backpack:
- Bottled water or canteen
- Nonperishable, nutrient-packed snacks such as nuts or jerky
- Bug spray
- Small first aid kit
- Cell phone
You may also want to bring binoculars or a bird whistle so that you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
Walk After Dinner
Sometimes a simple walk is all it takes to get your family excited about fitness. The American Heart Association recommends scheduling family fitness, and it’s easy to do that if you commit to an activity that happens around the same time each day. An after-dinner walk offers a nice way to unwind after a hectic day, and you can use your stroll to chat about the day’s events. If you have a dog, bring them along. The exercise will be great for them as well. If you don’t have a dog, offer to help out a busy or elderly neighbor by walking their dog.
Be prepared for younger kids to get tired on your walks. You might want to bring a wagon or stroller for them to use as needed. If you plan to walk after dark, wear reflective clothing so drivers can easily spot you and your family members, even if you’re walking on a sidewalk.
Family members often have a strong bond, and you can help each other tackle fitness-related goals. Commit to a healthier lifestyle with your loved ones by walking, skating, or exploring your surroundings on a regular basis. You’ll have a blast spending time together, and over time, you may notice that the number on the scale drops.