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With the ever busier schedule of the average parents (and kids), it is common to find families that rarely engage in any form of exercise. This is potentially extremely psychologically and physically harmful for everyone in the family. For babies and toddlers, lack of exercise may hinder the full development of their developing motor skills, and the strengthening of their hearts. For adults, the dangers posed by a lack of exercise are well documented. A sedentary lifestyle can be as dangerous as regular smoking.
Is your family struggling to develop an exercise culture? Here are 5 activities that can help.
Go for walks before or after dinner
You don’t have to walk far. A 30-minute walk around the neighbourhood is enough; if you can get everyone on board for 30 minutes a day. To make the walks interesting, and to ensure that everyone is on-board, you have to be creative with walking activities. If you have very young children, convincing them to look out for birds is a good idea. A favourite is playing “I-Spy”. For older children, a simple game of “catch me if you can” can be a good idea; no doubt the younger ones will join in to.
Get on the dance floor
No. You don’t have to go clubbing with your family. Simply look through the UK top 40 list for the year thus far and pick out danceable songs. This works very well because the older kids know most of these songs word for word and dancing to them with the family will take on the feel of fun and play rather than of exercise. Imaging how adorable it is to have a 3-year old mimicking his 10 years old brother!
Get bikes for the family
Bike riding is a great form of exercise for everyone in the family. From the time you first let go of the youngest, to taking off the stabilisers, to wheelies down the track, it is enjoyable. Get bikes for the older members of the family and a balance bike for the youngsters that are still learning. A balance bike is a terrific way to get your young children to exercise, and get them excited about bikes. These bikes don’t have pedals so the kids have to propel them with their feet. This is a very good way to get them sweating and laying the foundations for a love of cycling as they get older.
Bring workouts into everyday activities
When at the supermarket, insist on using the stairs instead of elevator. Instead of having your toddler riding in the cart, make them walk. It will slow you down but it is worth it. On the way to school, park the car 10 minutes away from the school and walk down to the school with them from there. Be ready to explain the benefits to them to get them on board with this idea.
Walk the dog
Do you have a family dog? Yes? Then you have a huge incentive for exercising daily. Walking your dog is both beneficial to you and the dog. While on the walk, ensure everyone takes turns handling the dog.
New research fromshows that people who walk their dogs regularly stay fitter than the average person.
To get the best results, you have to alternate activities and keep things fresh. Don’t do the same walk every day. Mix up your activities. You don’t want these fun and stimulating exertions to become monotonous, or family members will go to great pains to avoid them!