There is no doubt families are active. Whether it’s driving a child to soccer practice, kids spending hours on homework, or taking the time to day to day household tasks, families are constantly in motion. The problem is that everyone is going in different directions! Seldom do families have dinner together, let alone finding a moment to fit in physical activity!
If you are like most parents you understand the importance of being active, but the dilemma is making it happen. Unfortunately the challenge in today’s society is that children are more apt to play on a mobile device then to play outside. In addition, it is perceived that we need to spend hours in a gym, 3-5 times a week in order to gain any benefit from physical activity. With life as hectic as it is, this notion is quickly dismissed. In reality, research has shown that spending even 5 – 10 minutes a day jogging, riding a bike, or comparable activity may reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by 45%. Truthfully, this may be all the time you have to be physically active during the day, so why not make it into a fun family affair! You can peak your child’s interest by involving the entire family and by showing them that exercise is fun!
When you become an active parent and participant you and your children reap a variety of benefits. You increase your life expectancy, reduce stress and anxiety, boost overall mood, improve sleeping patterns, and reconnect with your children as you laugh and play your way to optimum health. You might find it easy to go for a robust walk or hike, but with limited time how can you fit in exercising as a family?
Here are 5 simple and easy ways to be active together with fun family fitness, that takes only 5-10 minutes!
• Doorway Jump – Every family member stands in a different doorway of a room in the home (i.e. bedroom doorway, living room doorway, etc…). On the signal, everyone does 15 quick jumps* in the doorway they are located in. When completed, move on to the next doorway. The goal is to do quick jumps in every doorway of the home.
*Quick Jumps – put your feet together and jump sideways, back and forth, keeping your feet together while jumping. One jump equals one repetition. (If jumping is difficult for you, step over an imaginary line sideways, back and forth).
• Dance Off – Everyone take turns playing their favorite song during a TV commercial that everyone in the family has to dance to. In an hour long program, you can get dance to 4 to 6 songs!
• Play a family game that includes moving and laughing. Fitivities is an award-winning physical activity game that allows 2 to 24 participants, ages 6 to 60+ moving at one time. The game can last 3 to 10 minutes, and can be enjoyed by all physical abilities. The modifications included make it easy for all to participate, creating an atmosphere of fitness fun and family togetherness . It’s easy for a family to get a game or two in during a TV commercial, right before or after homework, or as game night favorite.
• Mirror Me – Everyone line up and walk the perimeter of each room in the house. The leader of the line can add a unique activity while walking (i.e. stop and do 10 jumping jacks, start to skip, jump to the sky, etc…). After you go completely around the house, a new family member becomes the leader.
• Balance Challenge – Have a contest to see who can balance on one leg the longest. Who is the best on the right leg and who is the best on the left leg.
Including physical activity into hectic lives CAN be achieved, and the best way is by making it a family affair. Life will still be busy, and families will continue to “conquer and divide”, trying to figure out who is bringing what child to practice and what parent will be helping what child with his or her homework. However, finding a few moments in a day to connect as a family by being active as a family will reap precious memories that will last a lifetime.
Sandy “Spin” Slade is the creator of Fitivities™, and creator and founder of Skillastics®, a series of oversize board games that help develop children’s fitness and sport skills, enjoyed by over 10 million students in over 25,000 schools and afterschool programs nationwide. Previous to that, Sandy was a professional basketball entertainer, “spinning and dribbling” basketballs for over 22 years for thousands at schools, NBA halftimes, and various events throughout the world. Her goal is to change the way society as a whole looks at physical activity. Fitivities™ introduces the popular Skillastics® technique into the living room by transforming physical activity into the fun, simple, and affordable family group experience.