by Katie Ferraro
Everyday fitness can be a fun family affair. Even when bringing your kids to the gym is not feasible, there are plenty of fun ways to work your kids into your own active routine. An added bonus? Showing your children the ropes of an active routine will lay the foundation for them to live a happy and healthy life.
Most of us spend a lot of time indoors. That includes our kids! Creating an active routine outside is the perfect opportunity to introduce more fresh air and nature to your lifestyle. Consider adding fun family outdoor activities like park days and family walks to your social calendar.
A daily family walk is a great way to connect and decompress from the day while staying active. This could be a stroll around the neighborhood, or you could choose an off-site location like a local park. The key here is making it simple to add to your daily schedule.
If you find yourself with a little more time on your hands, pack the essentials and head to your favorite park. Making this a family event is great, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to invite other families, have a healthy potluck-style meal and incorporate easy activities like catch, tag, Frisbee or a game like soccer. You could even include a fun workout featuring easily modifiable exercises such as squats, burpees, running (jogging) and push-ups.
While movement is an obvious benefit, studies have shown there are massive health benefits from simply connecting with nature. That doesn’t mean you have to climb a mountain or head off to some obscure place; it can be enjoying the green spaces around you. Even in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, there are many options for safe green spaces all around.
In a powerful article from Outside magazine, the author spoke directly to physicians about how prescribing time outside could be the future of health care for both adults and adolescents. Pediatrician Robert Zarr states, “In a world where we increasingly live our lives indoors, we are starting to think about nature not just as a place to recreate, but also as a social determinant of health.”
Start with a Stretch
A popular productivity hack is starting your day with a morning routine and you can easily incorporate the kids by adding a stretching routine that the entire family can participate in.It doesn’t have to be complicated — just 10 to 15 minutes of uninterrupted time to get the blood flowing.
Sure, mornings may be chaos in your house, but slowing down and taking the time to connect first thing could be a big asset in the long run. Aside from promoting blood flow, stretching can increase your energy, improve your posture and curb stress. And, as a bonus, it can help you teach your kids about healthy routines.
Bottom line: Everyday fitness does not need to be complicated or something you forego because your family has grown. Make it fun, keep it simple and lead by example by welcoming your kids and family into your active routine. They’ll thank you later!
Katie Ferraro is a writer and group fitness trainer in Los Angeles. When she’s not writing or at the gym, you’ll find her somewhere in the wilderness camping, hiking or backpacking.