It can be easy to feel down after the holidays are over. We look forward to “the most wonderful time of the year” month in and month out, and then it’s gone! But you don’t have to feel the blues after Christmas ends!
Part of what makes the holidays so special is the opportunity to spend time with loved ones. So, one of the best ways to ward off the post-Christmas crash is to keep up the good family habits! Make a point of spending quality, health-focused time together all year around.
Here are some ways you can spend time with your family, and promote mental and physical health while doing it with these 10 Tips for Fitting In Family Fitness from MaxLiving and River City Wellness:
10 Ways to Fit in Family Fitness
Think outside the box here. For your family, fitting in exercise might entail:
• Running or walking for charity.
• Taking the stairs and parking further from the grocery store doors.
• A Friday night dance-off with your kids’ favorite music.
• An intense minute of lunges, squats, or push-ups.
• A contest to see who can hold a plank the longest. (Winner gets out of dishes duty.)
The key is to find what works for your family and make it fun. Incorporate a little creativity, make fitness lively and mandatory, and enjoy the time you spend with your family. Here are 10 ways to do that.
1. Be that example. When mom and dad prioritize exercise, children and adolescents are more likely to do so. One study found that parents exercising significantly predicts whether adolescents will also engage in exercise. The key is to inspire others by showing, not telling. Your example as a healthy, happy, energized adult will create lasting habits your child will carry throughout life.
2. Re-think exercise to keep the whole family healthy. If hitting the gym or getting laps around the block feels like a big chore, repurpose how your family sees exercise. Aim to integrate it seamlessly into your days, such as an after-dinner walk or some touch football. Make exercise as consistent and normal as your family dinner or brushing your teeth. You wouldn’t skip those things; you shouldn’t miss exercise either.
3. Schedule activities. You don’t just find the time to exercise; you have to create it. Set aside 30 minutes, three times a week to do fun exercises. Make it mandatory and routine; say, after dinner. You don’t need to be super adventurous here: something fun like hopscotch works for younger kids, while older kids enjoy soccer or shooting hoops.
4. Have fitness breaks. You don’t need an hour to exercise. Fit some pushups or squats in during TV commercials. Create mandatory screentime breaks every hour or so by setting a reminder on your child’s (and your) smartphone or tablet.
5. Schedule outdoor vacations. A two-week Maui vacation provides plenty of opportunities for family exercise, but that’s not always possible. If you have a nearby park, make an afternoon of frisbee or touch football. Schedule a day hiking trip, even if that requires an hour or two drive. Family time feels more invigorating when you do it in nature.
6. Walk or bike more. Biking or strolling around your neighborhood provides an excellent way to fit in more steps. If you’ve got a nearby park, a morning stroll or after-school bike ride provides an invigorating recharge for you all from being indoors all day. Bonus, if you’re tracking that movement with an app or pedometer. If possible, make walking or biking your transportation mode — say, when you go to the grocery store.
7. Make chores fun. Few children or adolescents — or adults — would call yard work or cleaning the house fun. Change that perspective: put on some fun music while you’re cleaning, foster an appreciation for nature, and create contests to see who can knock out the most. A clean house or yard and physical exercise make a double win!
8. Get a dog. Walking, running around the yard, and other types of movement is more fun with your best furry friend. Dog owners have more fun, lose weight, and keep it off better than non-dog owners. A healthy dose of canine love makes everything better!
9. Incorporate the right diet and lifestyle strategies. You’ll get lots more mileage out of family exercise when you regularly serve healthy meals and snacks. We’ve got lots of recipes here, and our Core or Advanced Plans are perfect for everyone. Balance exercise too with plenty of rest: Everyone does better with the right amount of quality sleep. Stress management, healthy socialization, and the right nutrients can also complement healthy fitness.
10. Remember that balance is key. An extreme approach doesn’t work and might even turn family members off of exercise. Your children needn’t abandon technology, and they’ll also require sedentary activities such as reading and studying. Find a balance: Say, an hour of exercise and an hour of screen time. Being physically inactive isn’t healthy, but neither is overdoing fitness, which can make anyone more prone to injury or burnout.
Making regular exercise a habit becomes easier when you focus on fun activities that fit into your schedule. Everyone is busy, but when you fit fitness in, you’ll find everything else benefits including your mood, your focus, your confidence, and even your work productivity.
Children grow up quickly. Spending time together becomes easier when you center it around a specific activity. Exercise makes the ideal way to do that, plus you’re installing healthy habits your child will use throughout life.