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Everyone knows that regular exercise ranks right up there with a balanced diet when it comes to the health of kids and adults alike. The trick is finding ways to get the family more active, which can include daily walks, dancing, doing chores together, starting a garden and limiting screen time.
All those ideas are attainable for the average family that currently isn’t as active as they want. But by adding these family activities into your daily or weekly schedules, everyone will quickly become accustomed to getting more active.
Need a bit more motivation to get your family more active? The Mayo Clinic reports that just getting 30 minutes per day of physical exercise can maintain good health. When you think about it that way – just a half hour a day – it makes it easier to accomplish.
With the idea that those who exercise together will stay committed to doing it longer, here’s a look at five family activities that can lead to better health.
A family walk is a great way to get daily aerobic exercise that helps with heart health and burns calories. An easy way to build this into your routine is to take a walk right before or after dinner. You can do something different when you have more time on the weekend, such as going for a hike on a local nature trail. You also can sign up to run or walk for charity. In cooler weather, you might also consider wearing base layer compression gear.
Dancing is fantastic exercise! Put on your favorite music and boogie down with your kids. This is a great idea for a weekly event when you can get together with other parents and their kids and break out your best dance moves. As long as you’re moving for at least a half hour, it counts!
No one likes chores. But the old saying is true: “Trouble shared is trouble halved.” When everyone pitches in, chores seem much less demanding. Also, doing yard work, shoveling snow and doing maintenance around the house gets everyone active. For the younger kids, you can turn it into a game to see who can, for example, fold the most laundry the fastest.
Getting outside and working on a garden is good for both your physical and mental health. Doing it together gives you a family activity that’s been around for centuries. Kids will love the idea of planting seeds and seeing them blossom into flowers or plants that provide food. They also learn about the food system and it gives them a reason to go outside every day.
All the ideas above will work best if you limit screen time. People used to worry about television keeping people indoors – that seems quaint now that we have television plus the internet, computers and smartphones. Every family knows what limits will work best in their house, but the important thing is to put a cap on the amount of time everyone can spend in front of a screen, giving everyone more time to do activities together.
A commitment to finding ways to get your family more active is the first step in getting everyone healthier. There’s also this: The more family activities you do, the more time you spend together and the closer you become. That alone is worth the effort.