Fun Ideas for Family Fitness Activities
Children today spend more time playing on a screen than they do outside. A recent study showed that one in nine children in the UK have not physically been to a beach, forest, park, or any other natural environment. The study also revealed that only 10% of children have access to outdoor learning. To put this in perspective, prison inmates spend more time outside than most children do.
With this in mind, more and more parents are grasping the adverse effects of limited outdoor play on childhood obesity and stress. Being in front of the TV or the computer for many hours could also affect your child’s vision, since looking at the screen requires only the use of limited eye movement. Staying indoors can also cause children to miss out on the benefits of outdoor play such as getting essential vitamins like Vitamin D, or developing important life skills and traits. Don’t let outdoor play become a bygone era. Here are some simple and fun family fitness activities you can try with your children:
Have a little dance off
Parents suggest the simplest way to get your children off the sofa is to get them dancing. Just push some of the living room furniture to the side, crank up their favourite music, and have a little dance off. It’s a hilarious way to get some exercise and it doesn’t even feel like you and your family are working out.
Organise a weekly sports day (or night)
Never let a week pass without exercising with your children. Designate one day of the week for either an outdoor or indoor workout session that involves family-friendly exercises like bear-crawling, ape-walking, and jumping jacks. You can make exercise decks where the family picks a card and performs the exercise as instructed. You can also turn classic childhood games into fun workout activities. Get your children to try skipping ropes, hula-hoops, and hopscotch.
Ask your children to help in the garden (or allotment if you have one!)
Nothing says a good exercise than a few hours tilling the soil, lifting some pots, and watering the plants in your garden. Asking your children to help you pull out some weeds is a lot more tiring than it first appears. A few hours in the garden will also allow your children to learn and understand the importance of taking care of the environment.
Walk the dog with your children
Bring your children with you every time you take the dog out for a walk. And if you don’t have a pet, now’s the time to reconsider. At Healthy Life we’ve written about the benefits of pets for children, which include having a sense of responsibility among others. Pets can also help reduce stress in the house, which in turn, boosts your child’s emotional and mental wellbeing.
Explore your local nature reserves
Nature reserves are always great places to explore as a family. You will probably be surprised how many reserves of varying sizes that are fairly close by: tiny reserves great for a gentle family stroll; bigger Country Parks and Nature Reserves that might even have dedicated cycle paths, lovely lakes and an abundance of natural wildlife. Many of these larger parks and reserves will also have a centre with interesting information, toilet facilities and refreshments. And while you can visit casually as a family at any time during normal opening hours, did you now that many parks and reserve have a huge calendar of events, many suitable for children from toddlers upwards? Do check out our Wildlife and Countryside Events Calendar on a regular basis for more information.
Give your children something to look forward to every month by joining fitness events, family activities, and charity-hosted competitions in your area. Seasonal events are also available if you’re looking for something fun and interesting for the family. Save the Children hosts London’s largest Santa Run at London’s Victoria Park, and events like this not only get your children outside, but also teach them the value of helping others. There are also exciting marathons where you and your children can bring your pet and race against other pet-loving families in your area.
Well and Good details how to talk to your children about fitness, health, and exercise to help them understand its importance. Your outlook can also affect how much physical activity your children get. If you are a good example to them, they are more likely to enjoy and look forward to getting active with you. You won’t run out of activities to try, too. More and more establishments are creating fun and engaging activities tailored to the needs of families who want to be active.