Getting moving as a family has so many amazing benefits. Group physical fitness not only represents an important bonding opportunity, but it’s also a way to reduce sedentary behavior in young children. Sweating together as a family establishes a foundation for fitness in kids that will remain with them throughout their lives. Children, after all, model their parents’ behavior and are more likely to participate in physical endeavors if their parents also participate.
With a spouse or partner, moving together is the perfect way to spend time with one another without the distraction of screens or technology. Enjoying fitness activities with any member of your family won’t just benefit your relationship, though. You’re more likely to show up if you know someone else is waiting for you at the hiking trail or the gym. You’re also more likely to put in an acceptable amount of effort if you’re working out with someone else rather than alone.
Strategies for encouraging your family to move together
Create a routine.
Whatever activity you pick — walking together after dinner, biking to school, playing soccer at the park — make it a regular occurrence instead of a special one-time occasion. If it feels like it’s part of the weekly routine, you’re more likely to repeat the routine and have it become a real path to family fitness.
Go on an outdoor adventure.
Enjoy the great outdoors together! Spending time outside increases mood, reduces stress, and is a lot of fun. Turn physical activity into something fun instead of a chore.
Walk or bike together.
Instead of instinctively grabbing the car keys when it’s time to run an errand, lace up your sneaker or don your helmet and ask a family member to tag along. Both walking and biking are accessible, low-impact activities and don’t require much pre-planning or effort.
Plan active outings.
Head out to an orchard to pick fruit or walk around and discover a new part of town together. Physical activity doesn’t always need to include huffing and puffing. As long as you’re moving together, it counts!
Get a dog.
Consider the responsibilities and costs that come along with a family pet first, and if the fit is right, head to your local shelter. Try turning daily dog walks into a family affair.
Don’t make it about weight loss.
Physical fitness shouldn’t be about losing weight. It should be about encouraging healthy habits and, of course, FUN!
Start a garden.
You’ll not only teach your kids about where their food comes from, but you’ll be able to enjoy time outside together. Plus, digging, weeding, and harvesting will have you all working up a sweat.
Include your child’s friends.
Did you know that children are more likely to feel positive about physical activities if they’re participating with a friend? Ask your child to invite a playmate to join your family game of frisbee in the park or on your next hike.
Written by: Steph Coelho
Photography by: Eric Vinson