We’ve already known the benefits of regular exercise and how staying in shape can help you keep up with your kids. But exercising with your family gives you the chance to spend quality time together and squeeze your workout into your busy schedule.
With only about half of Americans aged 12 to 21 regularly participating in vigorous physical activity, and studies revealing that childhood obesity is on the rise, it’s up to parents to set a good example when it comes to fitness. Children learn by emulating their adult role models if you’re a channel surfer, that’s the habit your child is going to pick up.
Instead, your children might even inspire you to get fit. Is your daughter interested in an activity you’ve always been curious about say swimming or karate lessons? Why not join her and make it a family affair? When your child sees you fall down, get up, and try again, she learns that everyone has to make an effort and that effort is an important part of life.
Family fitness activities also provide a way for parents to stay in touch with uncommunicative teenagers. Walking, inline skating, or biking, for example, all offer opportunities for non-confrontational, casual conversation. During these activities, you can talk to your teens when the mood is light and without direct eye contact, making them feel more at ease and often more willing to open up. It really is true that “the family that plays together stays together!”
Encourage family fitness activities that are fun for everyone. First, talk to your children to find out what they would be interested in don’t try to choose an activity and “force” the family to join in. You can try traditional games such as baseball, basketball, or kickball, or make a day of it with cycling, swimming, hiking, camping, or canoeing. And don’t forget the pleasures of a simple walk, a game of Frisbee, or raking leaves on a crisp autumn day all these activities are sure to make you work up a sweat.