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Making Fitness a Family Affair

Date Published: Feb, 27 2014

How Would you Describe Your Family's Physical Activity?

Was your answer active enough? With most parents working 40 or more hours a week it's hard to find ways to worry about adult fitness, let alone children's fitness, but the reality is that America's families are struggling to stay fit. Like any other habit, teaching children to find time to be active is more easily accomplished when you lead by example. How can you find time to get your children to their sporting activities while making time for your own? Forget about exercising and have fun!

Make Fitness Fun

It's a hundred times harder to be the only health conscience person in your home, regardless of your age or role in the household. Families have a collective lifestyle and if togetherness means spending every evening and weekend enjoying an endless marathon on Netflix, anyone trying to change their personal habits is being left out. It can be done, but it's much harder than working together to build a life that revolves around being active and healthy.

Every family needs to make together time a priority and coupling that with a fun, high energy activity will help you stay active together and teach your kids that play isn't something you put away when you grow up. Currently, only 30 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 17 get 20 minutes or more of vigorous exercise daily; although, a full 60 minutes of daily exercise is recommended. For most people, exercise is a chore, but play is a biologically vital activity. Getting up off the couch and replacing an hour of screen time with an hour of play time will benefit your entire family.

Scout out a local park that has a free baseball field (or choose one that has a big dry open space) and coordinate a regular kickball game with other parents. Many parks will even allow you to reserve spaces, so don't be afraid to call ahead! Make sure your goal is clear, everybody plays and everybody has fun! Although it takes a little more coordination than other activities, teaching your kids (and yourself) the difference between living an active life full of play and ‘exercise' is sure to be priceless.

Depending on the age ranges, you can adjust the game play to make things a little more fair. Here are some easy alterations that you can blend together or you can make up your own.

10 and under:
    • Toddlers run bases and adults kick
    • Pair adults and kids to play bases
    • Designated hitters
10 and up
    • Adults (over 16) vs kids
    • 50/50 adult child split
    • Adults in the outfield kids in the infield

And While You're at It

It may be a little difficult to organize a kickball game every weekend but this is just one idea to help make your family more active. Since, we're talking about turning one classic playground game into a family activity, why not explore a couple more? If you can't get enough families to join your kickball game, don't be discouraged! Pick an activity and make a goal around it.

It takes approximately 10,000 hours to master something and that's time you'll spend having fun, getting fit and being together. So this year, let's master Double Dutch, perfect the talent of badminton, become the elite team of capture the flag or have a household hula hoop contest. You'll soon discover that the more you play together, the more open everyone will become to spontaneous play.

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