It's a new year and we all have new goals. How about making a new goal to create a family fitness habit?
The kids are going to imitate you, so if you're active, they're more likely to follow suit. Your child might already be asking if he can try the treadmill. (Don't be surprised if your FitBit disappears.)
However, if you're just starting out, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Start low impact. Aim for an evening walk with the family. Take the dog and enjoy the fresh air. Account for the weather and make sure you're dressed appropriately. Keep track of how far you go with the MapMyFitness app for your smartphone or another GPS-enabled device.
- Keep it fun. Make it a team support system that provides accountability and encouragement amongst all. Keep track and challenge each other. We do #fitmas every year. Our son is delighted to open up the wooden Advent calendar to see what the fitness activity is for the day. Go low tech and put a paper calendar to mark on the refrigerator, or set everyone up with a tracking app and collect badges or stickers.
- Set Goals. Mark your fitness events on the calendar and keep the energy levels up leading up to them. Find a fun goal to work toward. Is there a local 5K you can work toward? (Hint: You don't have to run it.)
- Try out new things! Have you hard of Parkour? Coach Kyle with Urban Evolution (urbanevo.com) points out, "The families who come to one of our locations end up taking various classes, but it ends up being all about encouragement for each other. We may have one of the kids in Parkour, Dad doing Urban Fit, and Mom up on the Silks or Aerial Acrobatics. They're cheering each other on." You can even search for a Water Zumba class. If it's winter? Try outdoor ice skating.
- Have something active to do every day. Our children get such limited time on the playground or in PE classes. They need more physically active time and less screen time. Even if it's twenty minutes with the Wii Fit, get some sort of movement in.
- Be creative. Kids like Minecraft? Have them build a real life scenario in the yard. Are they into Call of Duty or another weapons game? Break out the Nerf guns and have at it. The neighbors may think you're crazy, or they may join in.
Always, always, always, remember to stay hydrated during any activity. We tend to ignore how much water we need during a day. Find a fun water bottle and keep it with you and filled up for the entire day. (Make a game of how many times you have to refill it.) And, for safety reasons, if you're out and about on the roads, make sure you're wearing reflective clothing and have your phone with you in case of an emergency.