I will readily admit I’m not the team-sports type, but my family’s fitness is definitely a priority. Here are some tips for keeping your family fit…and having a bit of fun at the same time!
1. Don’t discount what you can do in your own home (especially during the cold weather)! I have used my treadmill faithfully for more than thirteen years, and now with Smart TVs you and your kids can do workout videos together in the family room.
2. Let kids try (and abandon) sports and activities – that’s the only way to figure out what they really love. We expect our girls to stick with an activity for the full season or session (commitments are important, unless they are completely miserable) and we tried both gymnastics and soccer before realizing that cross country running and step dancing are their “things”. (While some argue dance isn’t a sport, I just want to point out that you can’t beat step dancing for a cardio workout! See what I mean here.)
3. Ensure comfortable clothing for the whole family. I know brand names don’t matter (especially to young kids); just make sure items fit properly and also consider features like DryCell for sweaty sports. Comfortable shoes are essential too. We’re modelling items from SportChek here, with names like Puma, Under Armor, Nike, Adidas and Skechers (I love my new Flex Appeal 2.0 walking shoes – they are so light and the memory foam is a great feature), and you might be surprised at the low prices you can get, especially if you check the website for sales! I also want you to know that I went out on a limb with my selections: I usually favour neutral-toned, baggy workout wear, but love my colourful, more fitted look shown here.
(On a related note: when reading Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution, I was interested in her advice that you shouldn’t wear workout clothes to bed. She feels it confuses your brain, and that you should have designated PJs instead to help you fall asleep faster!)
4. When exercising on your own, compelling watching or listening material can be motivational. I love to catch up on Netflix while on the treadmill, and while I used to love music for my outdoor walks, I have become a podcast convert. In the summer I looked forward to my daily morning walk so I could listen to another episode of Happier with Gretchen Rubin…and I’m sure everyone will be excited about the brand new podcast launching soon called This Mom Loves! (Also consider listening to it in the car, in the kitchen, in the shower…okay, now I’m getting off topic!)
5. When it comes to exercise, all movement counts…so why not a family cleaning session? (Yes, I’ll do anything to get the kids involved in tidying!) Crank the music, and once the chores are done finish off with a dance party!
6. While getting out with the entire family is wonderful, consider scheduling some one-on-one time with each child. There’s something about walking side by side that encourages kids to open up more than they do if you’re looking right at each other – this is why driving is another great talking time!
7. Take advantage of local resources. When the girls were learning to ride their bikes, we would take them to the high school track. They could practice and we could walk/run as well, still keeping them in sight at all times. You can also check out play centres, rock climbing, bowling, and ice skating rinks for a change of pace.
8. Invest in fitness trackers! The girls and I all have Fitbits and we we seem to go hot and cold when it comes to using them, but it can definitely be fun to challenge each other with daily steps. My only caveat, especially with tween girls like mine, would be to promote the physical activity while downplaying features like calorie counters. They certainly need to know about the importance of healthy foods, but growing bodies should be gaining weight and I would never want to create an unhealthy obsession with those numbers.
9. Find a class to take together. There are all sorts of mom-and-baby options out there, but I’m seeing more and more classes for parents to do with older kids as well, and teens can usually participate in adult offerings along with mom or dad. It can be a nice weekly outing to look forward to…and much healthier than my beloved movies-and-nachos family time!
Disclosure: Our clothing items were provided by SportChek. Opinions are, as always, my own.