Over the years, my husband and I have asked ourselves this question a number of times; “Are we the only couple that actually enjoys spending time with each other and our family?”
Actually, I don’t really think that most couples and families don’t like each other, I just wonder how some people can accept that one hour a day it enough “family time”. Between the time my husband gets home from work each day, and the time our five year old goes to bed, we have less than three hours together, and I know a lot of families that have even less time. We are consistently rearranging our priorities and schedules so that we can spend as much time together as possible. One thing that almost always gets readjusted is our exercise time. Before our son was born, my husband and I would meet at the gym and exercise together, but that is a little more difficult these days. Unless we put some type of electronic device in the hands of our little boy and stick him in the corner of a room for an hour or more each evening, we don’t have a chance to really get a good workout in at a decent time of day. But at the same time, I know the importance exercise for overall health. So what do I do?
I have come up with a list of things that families can do together, while getting their exercise at the same time.
1. Family Walks
This may seem obvious, but this is one of our favorites, especially in the Spring and the fall when the weather is so nice. If your kids are really young, push the stroller or pull the wagon. Then it becomes and even better workout for mom and dad.
2. Jump on the Trampoline
Kids love to jump on trampolines, and it is such good exercise for them. Why not get out there and jump, too. Not only does it get you moving and allow you to spend time with your kids, but “rebounding” also has some amazing health benefits.
Whether you are growing your own garden of fruits and vegetables, or you are planting some flowers in your front flower bed, do it as a family. You are not only getting exercise and breathing in the fresh oxygen of the outdoors, but think of the teaching moments that you will have with your children. If your are growing your own vegetables in your garden, your children will not only understand that they are putting their hand to something so important, but they will also be much more likely to eat the vegetables if they have had a hand in growing them. If you only have a flower garden, teach your children the importance of flowers to the pollinators, which in turn affects the food that we eat.
4. Video Games
Did I say video games? Yes, I did. Video games like Wii Sports or Xbox Connect can get everybody in the family moving and having fun. Especially on a rainy day when you can’t get outside, these options are great for getting in some family exercise. Plus, they are really great for all ages.
Most kids are involved in sports of some kind. Get outside and help them practice. One of my favorite memories as a kid was my mom trying to help me practice basketball. Sure, she was no good and played in a completely unorthodox manner, but she still got out there and played. And who knows, maybe she made me a better player. Soccer, football, basketball, tennis… they are all sports where everyone in the family can join in and get moving.
6. Dance Party
Ok, so I saved my favorite for last. I cannot tell you how many “dance parties” we have had in our living room with just the three of us. And all you need is some really great music. See how long you can dance and how many muscles and body parts you can use. You might be surprised at how much good you are actually doing for your body, and your emotions. It is great for everyone to let loose and move! And so much FUN!
Whatever it is that you choose to do, do it together. And most importantly, have fun! If your kids are used to mixing exercise and fun, they will be much more likely to continue on the road to a much more active lifestyle throughout their lives.