Mamas - you already know why exercise is important for your family: it makes hearts and lungs stronger, increases bone health, and is a natural immune system booster. Regular exercise aids in brain development and function and is an excellent foundation for kids to want to be physically active for life. And, it’s a way to get the wiggles out so you’re not exhausted by the bedtime zoomies.
It’s challenging enough just trying to keep an exercise routine for yourself let alone between all the demands as a householder and employee/business owner. You know how good you feel after moving your body, and being the good parent that you are, you want those benefits for your family, too.
The question is how to get you and your family moving consistently. You’ve read a million articles that say to get your kids outside - well, what if it’s below zero where you live? Maybe you live in the city where there’s no local park to go rollerblading? What if you’re a single parent on a budget and bicycles for you and your 3 kids is not in the budget right now? Or you have a moody teenager whose thumbs move faster than Usain Bolt while gaming?
Superhero Mamas came up with some tips for staying active as a family and you don’t need anything fancy to stay fit:
1. Play Time
Set aside some time a few days a week, perhaps after school or after dinner to just move around and have fun! If you can get outside, great! Kick a soccer ball around, shoot hoops or take a walk to breathe some fresh air. If getting outside isn’t an option, playing Tickle Monster will not only get you moving, but has the added benefit of giggles.
2. Dance Off
Put on some music and show off those moves you were so proud of in high school. And if your kids start laughing at you, challenge them to see who can do The Worm better.
3. Sneak Exercise in
Shhhhh…you put beets into their pancakes and spinach the blueberry smoothie and they never knew it. That’s just part of your genius when you park the car in the spots furthest from the grocery store’s entrance. So is taking the stairs instead of the elevator or telling them the dog missed them while they were at school and would really really love another walk around the block.
4. Green Thumb
Kids love to mush their hands in soil. If you have a yard space, maybe plant some flowers or start a raised garden of vegetables. Eat what you grow! If you don’t have a yard, check with your local parks and recreation for a community garden.
5. Wash Everything
Wash the car, wash the bikes, wash the dog, wash the floor, the walls, the windows…okay, maybe not if you live on the 34th floor. But you can wipe them down from the inside! Everything gets clean and sparkly (even the dog), and the kids learn some life skills they won’t get in the classroom.
6. Take a Walk
Anywhere. Everywhere. If it’s cold and rainy outside, is there a mall you can go to? Or do you think your kids might enjoy some puddle jumping? How about the track at the high school? Or just keep it close to home and walk around the neighborhood. Say hi to the neighbors!
7. Can’t Think of Anything
Really? You can’t think of anything to do to get physical? Okay, then let’s go fold the laundry or clean the garage or pick up the dog poop. How about cleaning your room? Suddenly there’s tons of inspiration to get moving…
8. Your Family Hates Sports
No problem. See #s 1-7.
9. Your Family Loves Sports
Again, no problem. Just keep it fun.
10. Take the Lead
Even if it seems like your kids are ignoring you, they’re watching you. They see how crabby you get when you haven’t exercised enough. They also see you glow and how nice you are when you have kept your commitment to yourself to exercise. Everybody in the family has got a lot going on. Some days are harder than others. Some days are easier. But seeing you take care of yourself gives your family not only a sense of pride in you, it teaches them that their health matters - that the motivation to want to get them moving isn’t just because it’s good for them, but because you love them.