I am a firm believer in workouts not having to be workouts. Does this make sense? Let me put it this way: trampolines are more fun than treadmills. I am here to tell you that getting your family active is much easier, and much more fun, than you may have previously thought.
While writing my book, Family Fit (which should be available within the next couple of months), I found myself at a loss when creating the section on family activities. I think this was because there isn't actually that much to say! So yeah, this post probably won't be that long...
Getting your family active together is about the best thing you can do for developing a healthy active family lifestyle. On top of that, it's a sure-fire way of building better quality relationships. So many team-building workshops focus on building strong bonds through activity, why not absorb that philosophy into our family lives?
Parents often struggle with two primary barriers to health and fitness: time, and energy. By combining family time and getting active you nail that first barrier, and being more active will also give you more energy so that's a double whammy! Also, seeing as you have to expend energy looking after your kids anyway then why not be efficient in that regard and do your exercise at the same time.
The simplest place to start would be to get out for a walk, preferably somewhere reasonably natural such as a park or by a river. It doesn't have to be miles, just something short and sweet is better than nothing. Talk about all the things you can see, and how you feel about getting outdoors and breathing that fresh air. Make it an enjoyable experience for everyone, keep a smile on your face and have a laugh with it.
A friend of mine recently described being active and outdoorsy as 'self-fulfilling'. That is, the more you get out and about the more you will want to get out and about. This positive spiral helps lift you and your family up with better mood, better energy, better health, and better relationships. What's not to love?!
A good place to start is aiming to get out as a family just once each week. Try to involve the whole family in making the plans of what to do, this helps everyone take ownership of the day out and get more excited. Try something new, or do an activity you've done before. Walking, cycling, swimming, climbing, playing in the park, football... the options are almost infinite!
Make your positive lifestyle shifts enjoyable by getting your family active and you'll find it much easier to stick to long-term, and as a result you'll find everyone gets much better improvements in their health.
What's your favourite activity to do as a family? Let me know in the comments!