Setting a healthy example for your kids is important if you want them to grow up strong and excited about fitness. That’s why we’re sharing five easy but enjoyable ways to get fit as a family this fall — just in time for National Family Week, happening Oct. 7 to 13.
Implement a post-dinner walk or bike ride
Do the members of your family take off from the table as soon as the meal is over to sit in front of a computer, tablet, iPhone or television? Downtime is important, but before everyone makes a beeline for their gadget of choice, gather everyone for a post-meal walk or bike ride. It doesn’t need to be long, but being outside together for 30 minutes every night (or at least three nights a week) will create a routine that’s healthy for everyone. Plus the time together sans technology can go a long way toward boosting your family bond.
Take advantage of outdoor space
Even though the temperature is dropping, there’s no reason not to head outside to take advantage of outdoor space both close by and farther away. Start by exploring the parks you can walk to, and then research other parks and green spaces that are within biking or driving distance, and take trips to see what those areas have to offer. On weekends, head to the closest hiking trails — bundle up, bring a Thermos of tea or hot chocolate, and get moving. Trail Peak lets you search for hiking trails across Canada.
Take a up a new sport or activity as a family
As a family, talk about what each of you would enjoy doing or learning as a group. Maybe it’s joining an indoor coed soccer league; maybe it’s dodgeball or basketball. The point is to find something that everyone is keen on committing to once a week as a fun way to add more fitness to your lives. If team sports aren’t high on anyone’s list, think about things you might want to learn together, such as martial arts or even rock climbing, and sign up for classes.
Start a family sports night
Start with your immediate family, and then put the word out to cousins, aunts and uncles and even grandparents who live close enough to meet up for one evening a week to play a sport — either the same one each time or something different, depending on what people feel like doing. For now, doing activities in the park is fine if you dress for the cooler weather, but as it gets colder, think about other things you can do together, such as skating, cross-country skiing or sledding. No matter what you’re doing, you’re making being active a priority.
Create some healthy competition for who can “move” the most
Kids love competition, so make a game out of getting moving. Create a points system based on things like going for a walk instead of watching TV, doing jumping jacks during commercials, walking to the store instead of driving, and walking up the stairs to tell a sibling it’s dinnertime rather than yelling. At the end of each month, see who has the most points, and hand out a (healthy) prize. The whole family can participate, and if you want, you can even get everyone a pedometer so they can track their steps each month for even more points.
How do you keep active as a family?