How many resolutions have you set out for yourself this year?
- Exercise regularly
- Lose weight
- Spend more time with your children
- Spend more time with your spouse
- Stop losing your temper
- Help your kids develop healthy habits
- Allows you to spend more time together as a family. Quality time isn’t enough – our kids need QUANTITY time with us. In our busy, overscheduled lives, any additional time you can spend together is irreplaceable.
- Helps you and your spouse and your children to get more fitness in. In fact, I always inspire parents with the prediction that once you get family fitness going, you also get a team of in-house personal trainers too.
- Puts stress, anger and the blues in their place. Making fitness a regular part of your day helps all of you defuse while at the same time it builds confidence and boosts your mood. It won’t solve all the problems your family faces, but it helps put everyone in a better framework to tackle them.
And here’s an under-recognized benefit of exercising together as a family that may be one of the most powerful reasons for doing so . . .
- Family fitness gives you parenting opportunities you can’t find in many other places.You can help your children take on self-doubt, overcome fear of failure and develop mental toughness. Something we all need in this world.
- Start with small stuff so you can experience more success and less frustrations.For example, do some morning jumping jacks and stretching together. Or before dinner put on the radio and dance hard for 15 minutes. Experiment with a short bike ride or hike on the weekends.
- Experiment.Use it as an opportunity to explore and find out what gets everyone excited. Usually, the best formula for family fitness includes having a full roster of activities so you can switch around frequently to prevent boredom. Bonus: The more you vary your activity, the better for your body as well.
- Don’t be afraid to be pushy – even authoritarian. It takes some time to get used to it (both as adults and kids!) So exercise some parental authority and insist on sticking with it. While fun it good, don’t make it the be-all end-all.
- Talk about it. The more kids get reasons why to do something, the more they’ll be willing to do something. Talk about health. Tell your kids this will help them become super strong. Spend a few minutes after doing something to observe how you feel – energized? Alert? Celebrate the accomplishments and progress. Keep track and discuss your experiences to help strengthen the motivation for keeping up with it.
About This Author
Since expecting their first child, Sarah Clachar and her husband Cassius have made fitness a core part of their family life. From biking to hiking . . . from the heart of New York City to a farm in New England . . . they’ve developed strategies and tactics for making family fitness work. To their work as family fitness coaches they bring Sarah’s 20 years as a health writer and educator and Cassius’ decades as a personal trainer and all-around problem solver. Ready to make family fitness part of your family life? Sign up for their free family fitness planning e-course at www.FitFamilyTogether.com.