Due to the coronavirus and governmental directives to stay home and practice social distancing, families around the world are getting more quality time together than they ever thought possible. Spring sports are canceled, playdates are happening via technology and parents are rightly concerned that their kids, as well as themselves, aren't getting enough exercise.
School and business closings have changed everyone's routine and have had a powerful affect on the way we spend out time, but if we're looking for silver linings, this forced family time can be one of them. In our own neighborhood I'm seeing siblings riding bikes together and play basketball. Families are going for daily walks, taking long hikes and adopting new pets. We are finding time every day to do something as a family, often things that wouldn't have fit in our schedule on a typical busy weekday.
If your family is getting stir crazy, here are some ways to stay active together during this time of self-isolation.
Backyard CampingSpring vacation trips may be canceled, but all you need for a backyard camping trip is a yard, a tent and a favorable weather forecast. Now is a perfect time to teach the kids to pitch a tent if they don't already know how, or to let them do it themselves if they do. Build a fire and cook dinner outdoors if you can, or just eat dinner out at the makeshift campsite if building a fire isn't an option.
Fitted Sheet FortIf you don't have a yard, take four dining room chairs and build a fort with a fitted sheet. Fitted sheets won't slide off like a blanket will, making for a sturdier, frustration-free structure. Kids will love eating lunch in the fort, doing schoolwork in the fort or just playing in the fort.
Dance PartyDisassemble that fitted sheet fort to make room for the dance party. Crank the music and get down to your family's favorite tunes. Take turns picking music, teaching each other new moves and working up a sweat.
Musical ChoresListen, you may need to call this activity something else to get your kids excited, but musical chores is a quick and dirty way to pick up the house. With the whole family home all the time, the house needs to be picked up more frequently. I like to start a song and see how much straightening can get done during that two or three minutes. We can all stay very focused in small, bite-sized timeframes.
Bike RidesTake a spin around the neighborhood or load up the bikes or scooters and find a mostly deserted trail for a fun activity that gets the heart rate up while still keeping a safe social distance.
Jumping RopeTalk about getting your heartrate up! Jumping rope is excellent cardio and is fun, too. If you have a couple of jump ropes, teach the kids how to double Dutch, and if you only have one, take turns and see how many jumps each person can get in a row. Parents don't become too overconfident in your abilities. We don't want any trips to the hospital right now, so everyone needs to stay injury free.
YogaMost of us are wearing extra stress right now, and yoga is not only great exercise, it's soothing for the soul as well. Move some furniture out of the way if necessary, and make room for a family yoga session.
Fitness ChallengesSet daily goals that make sense for the members of your family. Maybe it's a push-up or sit-up challenge, a weightlifting challenge or just a "get 30 minutes of exercise every day" type of goal. Make it fun and have prizes at the end of each week to celebrate successes.
Exercise VideosThere are countless free exercise videos for kids that combine fun music with physical activity. Here are few examples of popular programs:
Nothing beats a family walk for conversation and exercise. Plan a walk into your daily routine and stick to it. Getting outside is critical to your well-being, and there is no easier way to exercise with your family than going for a walk. In fact, people with dogs are overall healthier than those without, and researchers believe one reason for this is because dog owners go for regular walks.
We are going to be homebound for the near future, and that can be both scary and frustrating. But we can use this time to better ourselves and our families. We can have fun learning new workouts and activities, and can come out of this time stronger, healthier and closer to each other.
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