Ways to Stay Active With Your Family

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If you want to improve your overall health, exercise is one of the most effective methods. Movement provides physical and mental benefits that few prescription medications can match.

However, if you’re a busy parent, you might wonder when you can squeeze in a workout. Fitness isn’t for adults between the ages of 18 to 65 only. Why not get the entire crew involved so that everyone can look and feel their best? Here’s how.

1. Implement Morning Movement

If your family’s morning routine involves stumbling around bleary-eyed until the coffee kicks in, why not mix things up with yoga? People of all ages benefit from stretching. It helps to keep your muscles and connective tissues pliable to prevent injuries. You can find children’s books that teach this ancient practice’s principles to read before bedtime and establish a positive mindset for when your little ones awaken.

2. Take a Walk

Walking is an ideal exercise form because people of all ages can participate. Many residential areas now contain paved walking trails to benefit those who need assistive devices like canes. You can head out after meals for 10 to 15 minutes or strap your baby in the stroller for extended outings. Make it a mindful experience by stopping to focus on the feel of the air of your skin and the earth beneath your feet.

3. Go Hiking on Weekends

According to a study from the University of British Columbia, children who spend time in nature are more likely to feel passionate about the outdoors and take measures to protect the environment. If you have never been to your nearest nature center, make this weekend the one that you check it out with the family. As you gain prowess, you can advance to more vigorous hikes that tone your quads and hamstrings — you won’t notice the burn when you’re getting your om on among the trees.

4. Bike to Run Errands

Do you have to drive to the store when it’s only a quarter of a mile away? Why not protect the planet and get your heart pumping by riding your bike? You can invest in a basket or a rack to carry home light loads of groceries, and a child seat enables you to take Junior along for the ride.

5. Go to the Playground

Playgrounds give children the opportunity for unstructured play, something they need for their physical and mental development. It challenges their physical selves while letting their imaginations run wild.

If you don’t have a secure play area in your neighborhood, why not see if you can raise interest in building one? You can circulate a petition or organize a meeting to rally the troops. Once you have volunteers, you can begin fundraising efforts and design the ideal space. Try to make the layout inclusive — add paved walkways for wheelchair accessibility and quiet areas for children with sensory-processing disorders.

6. Get in the Water

Kids of all ages love to swim, at least once they overcome their initial fear of the water. You can help in this regard by signing them up for swimming lessons — these also improve your peace of mind. While you should always supervise younger children, even in bathtubs, you can keep your kids cool in the summer heat.

Do you have a lake near you, or do you live near the shore? If so, consider investing in a canoe or a kayak. Such crafts provide a challenging upper-body workout while keeping you somewhat drier — unless you hit whitewater.

7. Sign Up for Sports Leagues

If your region remains in a yellow phase, you might not be able to use this suggestion until the authorities give the green light. However, once things reopen, recreational sports leagues offer an ideal way to get moving while forming new friendships. Unlike school sports, many parks and rec leagues emphasize having fun more than winning a pennant.

8. Play Video Games

You might think of video games as sedentary activities, but you can use them to get moving. Games like Just Dance and Dance Central help you get into the groove, even if you have two left feet. Others, like Wii Fit, let you choose from a variety of activities, like bowling or golf.

9. Create a Family Garden

So many people discovered a love of gardening over the spring that farmers faced a seed shortage. However, if you missed out on this craze, get started now. Most regions are in the peak of the growing season, and you can grow tomatoes and green beans in containers if you don’t have a backyard. Your kids will learn plant biology and nutrition while burning calories raking and hoeing.

10. Design Scavenger Hunts Everywhere

If your children are old enough to explore unsupervised, use scavenger hunts to get them moving. The next time you go grocery shopping, give them each a part of the list to find. You can use similar activities with younger children when you need a few minutes of peace. Make a few lists of household items and set them loose to search while you finish emailing your supervisor.

Keep Your Family Moving With These Tips

Exercise is one of the top ways to improve your overall health. Make fitness a family affair with these tips.

Jennifer Landis
Jennifer Landis is a wife, mom, writer, and healthy living blogger. She enjoys longs walks around the block with her toddler, prefers tea over coffee, and eats way too much peanut butter. You can find more from Jennifer on her blog, http://mindfulnessmama.com or follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis

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