Tips for family fitness

Family fitness
MAKE IT FUN: Exercise can be as simple as a day out to the pool

Boost your family fitness with Caitlin Reid’s family fitness tips.

Find your kids a sport

Despite US research showing normal-weight kids are more likely to participate in sport than overweight or obese kids, sport is for every child. If your child feels they lack the skills for netball and football, introduce them to less common sports such as volleyball or badminton. It’s less likely that ‘sporty’ kids will be involved in these sports, which gives timid kids time to practise their skills, boost their confidence levels and enjoy sport.

Be good role models

Do you sit on the couch at every chance? Because if you do, there’s very little chance your kids will be enthusiastic about exercise. As kids imitate their parents’ actions, they’ll adopt a healthy lifestyle and make exercise a priority if their parents do. Talk positively to your kids about exercise and encourage them to maintain their fitness efforts.

Avoid ‘nagging’ your partner

Instead of nagging your partner to stop being a couch potato, ask them to help you get fit. Plan enjoyable training sessions together – the couple that plays together, stays together.

Actively commute to school and work

One US study found that children who walk or cycle to school are not only more active, but have better cardiovascular fitness than children who are driven or catch public transport. If you live too far to actively commute the whole way, do it part of the way instead.

Play together

Kids love it when their parents take interest in them, especially when an activity is involved. Take your kids to the park, kick a ball together, teach them to swim or fly a kite. Socialising with your kids will boost their self-esteem, which makes it more likely they will remain active in their adulthood. As parents you will also benefit from the quality time you’ll spend with your kids.

Plan for all eventualities

All of us have made excuses at some time for why we can’t exercise and stay fit. We may say it’s too cold; or there’s no time; or we’re too tired. But, these excuses are sabotaging our efforts to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Overcome your excuses with a plan. If it’s pouring outside, move your training inside with a workout DVD or a trip to the indoor swimming pool. Or if you’re too tired, make that an extra reason to get active as exercise boosts energy levels.

Make exercise accessible

Instead of purchasing video games, DVDs and other electronic equipment for family members’ birthdays, give them skipping ropes, tennis racquets, soccer balls, netballs and any other exercise equipment you can think of. Leave them in an accessible and visible position and encourage your family to use them as much as possible.

Make it fun

Fun and creative exercise programs are more likely to get your family involved. So instead of making exercise a chore, make it a fun day out in the park, a family cycling day or a ritual tennis round robin.