The growing obesity epidemic and our increasingly hectic lifestyles make finding ideas for active family fun all the more important. Active families benefit by spending quality time with one another, while instilling habits that can improve health and strengthen relationships.
Here are 10 ideas for active family fun:
1. Bike together along local bicycle trails. Bicycle trails are safer than road cycling, especially for young riders. Set a good example by wearing a bicycle helmet and insisting that your children wear necessary protective gear.
2. Walk the dog together around the block or visit a dog park to increase your pet’s socialization skills.
3. Invite older children to accompany you to your yoga or exercise class. Sign up younger children for child-parent classes at the YMCA or your local fitness center.
4. Don’t just tell your children to “go outside and play.” Set an example and get out and play with them. Set up a volleyball net, or simply kick a soccer ball back and forth.
5. Roller skate or rollerblade with your children in a traffic-safe area or at a skating rink. Be sure to wear all necessary protective gear.
6. Make a new habit of moving every night after dinner. Take a walk around the block or simply turn on some music and dance.
7. Spend weekends exploring nearby hiking trails and parks. Take a picnic lunch and see where your legs can take you.
8. Enroll your child in a local swimming class. Once safe in the water, you can swim laps for races, play water polo or take a pool exercise class.
9. Sign up with older children for rock wall climbing classes at a local recreation center for a new experience.
10. Quality time need not always be only recreational. Make a game of performing household chores where whoever finishes first gets a prize.
Talk to other parents, physical therapists, your children’s pediatrician or exercise professionals for more family fitness ideas.