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Getting Physical With Your Family for Fun and Good Health!

With all the rushing and hustle-bustle of trying to keep up with our fast-paced world, it may seem like we are all dancing to that great song from the movie Madagascar – “Move it- Move it!”

But more often than not, only the hands of the clock are  “moving”  for both kids and adults, along with only eyeballs and fingers across various screens!

The huge amounts of time spent with technology today has not just limited healthy activity habits but has played havoc with our health. Very few of us is getting the needed physical activity to stay healthy, especially teens, who are enrapt in their smartphones!

The good news is, you don’t have to do daily calisthenics with your kids to get the whole family up off of the couch and moving. Here are some tried and true ways to add “get physical” with your Fam!

In the Park

Make more of pushing the kids on the swings by taking a jog around the swings before the next push. The older kids and do it too.

Send a child up the slide ladder and run around to catch at the bottom, but do a few squats there too–you and the older kids!

Tree tag only allows that safety for 3 seconds before everybody has to run again.

In the Pool

Public indoor or outdoor pools offer some Wet and Wild times for family togetherness. Research shows that an hour of casual water play burns up about 500 adult calories.  Play sharks and minnows and the minnows must swim to an opposite side without being caught by a shark, lest they become the shark. In Water Jet Tag, players stay safe by tagging the jets. Relays, of course, are always a challenge everyone gets into. And there is always the ever-popular “Marco Polo.”

After Meal Milestones

No more after dinner dosing and slumping. Post dinner is the perfect time for a family walk, bike ride, scoot. Develop a fun circuit with the kids; for example, a log is a stepper, a big rock is a squatting or dipping area. A couple of trees mark the places for hopping skipping or sprinting.

Obstacles To Overcome

A backyard can become your own fun obstacle course, and will even take some healthy physical activity time to move and carry in and out your obstacles de jour–toys, furniture, garbage receptacles. Add some rules that change each time like hopping, hands on the ground, twirls.

The Family Commercial Clique

When you do sit with the kids for a family show, use the commercial time, or make commercial time with a movie and do fitness breaks. Make up your own pet names for the fitness routines like Tinker bell Toe Touching, different from Tarzan Toe Touching, or Lighting McQueen Marching, or the Sleeping Beauty Bear Crawl.

The Dog Leads for Losing

Don’t give into the “Dog Days” of summer by just lying around. A recent study on obesity showed dog owners not only kept off weight loss longer but had more fun losing weight by walking dogs than non-dog owners did with any other methods. But if you don’t have a dog, walk anyway, and see how many you might see around, or, have your kids volunteer as a neighborhood “dog-walker” for dog owners who are away, or working late.

Dig These Great Garden Moves Whether you have a large or tiny space, or even just a window space, gardening is always a multi-season reason to do some activity, picking, weeding, watering, digging, as well as the learning experience of how to nurture something living.

Some Classes and Programs to Move To

Yoga has been recommended more recently as offering all ages over the top positive benefits for physical, emotional, and mental health. Yoga teaches about balance–something everyone needs across the board. It’s a wonderful way to learn about relaxation, to prepare the body and mind to connect, to learn how to breathe correctly. It has been shown to improve concentration, focus, and confidence in one’s body abilities. It helps digestion, it can massage internal organs, it promotes strong muscles and flexibility. And it is fun. Try out one of Marsha Wenig’s DVD’s that are fun for all ages and do it with the kids.

Martial Arts such as Tai Chi and Tae Kwan Do are also wonderful physical activities that help to boost emotional confidence as well.

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

The most important thing about daily physical activity is that you set the stage for what becomes a healthy habit for kids to “grow on” for all their lives. Health guidelines recommend at least 30 minutes a day, and most recommend an hour a day.

Why is it important? You really already know that answer–it increases a better, healthier longer life, helps manage weight, improves the kids’ school performance, helps kids burn off their super-charged continuing energy supply.

But most importantly, you will find that as you are bonding, sharing doing activities together, you are playing and having fun!

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