In the midst of busy school schedules and packed weekends, how do you make time for family fitness? Even more challenging, how do you keep your kids interested and engaged?
Parents who make fitness an integral part of their daily lives and get their kids to participate raise kids who tend to be happier, healthier and do better in school. Not only that, family activity can encourage communication with older tweens and teens, giving parents another way to connect with their kids in a low-pressure environment.
Keeping it Fun
"Think old school games that you played as a child, like jump rope, four square, various tag games, kick the can," Sue Fredrick, an elementary school PE teacher and kids' CrossFit instructor in Washington, says. "Instead of saying, 'let's go on a run,' find a game that has running in it, like shuttle runs or sprints."
SHAPE America echoes Fredrick. It provides 101 Tips for Family Fitness Fun, filled with simple ways to encourage families to stay active together.
Fredrick also suggests using the internet as a resource and meeting kids where they are to get started. "We all aren't super creative," she says. "There are so many great resources online for family fitness. Pinterest is a great place to start; or start by just getting outside for a simple walk, but make it an adventure. Look for heart-shaped rocks or find the biggest leaf or best walking stick."
The best way to keep kids engaged is to follow their interests and change things up. By using games and variety, kids will learn to equate fitness with family fun. "The best things I hear from my students is, 'that was the best game ever,' and they are bent over trying to catch their breath," Fredrick says. "They have no idea they just did a 20-minute workout involving running and core work."