Start a Fun and Safe Exercise Program with your Family
Warmer weather means you and your family can be more active outside. This is a great time to consider starting a family exercise program if you don’t already have one. Remember that seeing your doctor before starting an exercise program is always a good idea.
The Amazing Benefits of Exercise
The many benefits of regular exercise are important to your health and well-being. Being active can help you:
- Cut the risk of heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer and diabetes
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Lessen anxiety and stress
- Give you more energy and may help you sleep better.
Being active can also help children and teens improve their strength and endurance, help build healthy bones and muscles, aid in controlling weight and build self-esteem. Additionally, kids who have good experiences with physical fitness at a young age help lay the groundwork for being regularly active as adults.
Start a family fitness program by setting reachable, short-term goals. It is easy to stick to something when you have early and frequent success.
How Much Exercise Do You Need?
It's true that any amount of exercise can make a difference in your health. But, following these guidelines can make a big impact on your family’s health:
- Children, adolescents and teens: 60 minutes of exercise daily
- Adults: 30 minutes of physical activity five or more days a week with strength training two to three times a week
If you don’t have time to do the full 30 or 60 minutes all at once, try breaking it down into smaller segments throughout the day –– you will still get major health benefits.
Putting Fun into Exercise
With a little imagination, you can create an exercise program that you and your family will all enjoy. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise.
Take younger kids for a nature walk searching for birds’ nests or a particular color. Walking with your adolescent or teen also gives you a chance to talk and connect. If the weather is bad, going to the mall for the afternoon (even if it's just window shopping) can help build up extra walking time. Or, think about walking around a zoo or museum.
- If your family is more adventurous, try biking or rollerblading together.
Be sure to set a good example by wearing your helmet and ask your kids to do the same. Or, enroll your child in a youth sports program. While your child is at soccer practice, you can get some exercise as well by walking (or running) laps around the field.
Stick with It
Reward your family for making exercise part of their day. Here are some ways to make sure they stick with it:
- Exercise together at the same time each day
- Include different activities in your workouts
- Ask other family members and friends to join you
- Listen to your body; stop doing exercises that may cause pain or make you feel dizzy or short of breath
- Give your muscles time to rest between workouts
- Offer non-food rewards for staying on track (a movie, new book, massage or pedicure)
Don't get too discouraged if you have to stop for a while. Just start over again when you can and keep aiming toward making exercise a regular, daily habit.
Check Your Progress
After a few weeks, be sure to take a look at how far you’ve come in making it a regular part of your life. Could you add more intensity or time to your regime? You may be pleasantly surprised! Keep yourself motivated by setting new goals or trying a new activity.
A Fit Family
Did you know that there are 1,440 minutes in a day? Scheduling at least 30 of them for physical activity with your family is a small price to pay for good health. Get out there today to enjoy a fun, yet safe, family fitness plan!