3 ways to include your family in exercise activities
Today’s guest post comes to us from Dan Chabert at RunnerClick and he writes about how to include your family in exercise activities. This article tugs at my heartstrings because I too find it difficult to get active and motivated to exercise. Perhaps employing these ways to incorporate my family in exercise activities will go a long way to building lasting memories and to lead by example with my children that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for both my mental well-being and physical well-being and it is a life-long endeavor. Not just when the time is convenient. It must be a consideration at all times. Building healthy habits now with your children will last a lifetime with your kids.
3 excellent ways to incorporate your family into your exercise routine
Having a family places demands on your time that people without children simply don’t understand. Once you are responsible for the health and well-being of another living person, your time no longer belongs to you, and it seems like the only way you can do everything you need to do in day-to-day life is to somehow secure a magical 25th hour to your day. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but unfortunately, there is no 25th hour. We all have only 24 hours in each day.“…we have to take care of ourselves! We have to look out for our own general health and physical and mental well-being.”
It’s not all that surprising, then, that many parents often find themselves unable to exercise, or get into a regular routine, because they feel so strapped for time each day. It’s all too common that we parents get into the habit of caring for others and putting their needs before our own. By the time we realize that we’ve been neglecting ourselves, it seems like it’s too late: we’re stressed out beyond belief, our clothes don’t fit as well anymore (assuming they fit at all), we’re generally unhappy, and the list goes on. Here’s the thing, though: we have to take care of ourselves! We have to look out for our own general health and physical and mental well-being. We owe it to ourselves to do all that we can to make ourselves the very best, the very healthiest, versions of ourselves as possible, not only because it’ll make us feel fantastic, but also because we have to be our own biggest advocates. We parents routinely go above and beyond to care for our families, but no one is going to care for us but ourselves. Our health should be as big a priority as that of our family.“…might I suggest thinking outside the box and establishing an exercise routine wherein you routinely involve your family?”
If you’re interested in starting an exercise routine but don’t know where to begin – particularly if you have young children in your family – might I suggest thinking outside the box and establishing an exercise routine wherein you routinely involve your family in exercise activities? Sure, it might sound counter-intuitive, if not also a bit counterproductive, but provided you give yourself some flexibility and patience, exercising with your family can become part of both your and your family’s healthy lifestyle. Besides, incorporating your family in exercise activities can be fun and could build memories that last a lifetime with your children.
Below, you’ll find my suggestions for ways you can involve your family in exercise activities and how to make it a regular routine. Like I mentioned earlier, the biggest, most important thing I can implore you to remember is that you absolutely must be patient and flexible. Some days, things might not go as swimmingly as you desire, and that’s totally ok! Do your best, and you’ll have nothing to be upset about – much like we tell our children.
My tips for how you can incorporate your family in exercise activities:
- Go on a bicycle ride together. My first suggestion to include your family in exercise activities is going on a bike ride together. I bet you have found memories of riding your bike as a child, and it’s such a fun thing to do that I’m sure your children would love to do it now as well – and with you, it’ll be even more fun! If your children are too young to ride by themselves yet, you could always consider investing in a bike trailer that would allow you to pull them behind you while you ride. Don’t forget all the necessary safety components for bicycle riding – such as obeying traffic laws and wearing helmets (if not also other gear for the little ones). Fortunately, in northern Nevada, you’ll have a variety of terrain to choose from (flats or mountainous areas) and typically-favorable weather that will allow you to ride outdoors nearly year-round, if you so choose. This method of including your family in exercise activities is a great one.
- Run together as a family. As a hobby, running is incredibly versatile, and it’s an activity that you can do basically anywhere you go: around your neighborhood, through a park, alongside a river, up through the mountains, and the list goes on and on. Plus, children naturally love to run, as evidenced by how quickly toddlers transition from walking to running. Running together as a family could help you create lifelong memories together, and much like it is with bicycling together as a family, the speed or distance you post doesn’t matter. What matters more is that you enjoy the process and the experience and that you emulate for your children how fun it is to regularly incorporate physical activity into your healthy lifestyle. In addition, if your children are too little to run by themselves quite yet, you could consider purchasing a running-friendly stroller and push them in it while you log some miles with the rest of your family. In fact, some bicycle trailers transition into running strollers so if the day isn’t good for a bike ride, you can run or vice versa.
- Explore your world together on foot by hiking or walking. Perhaps the most accessible exercise that you can do together as a family is simply going for a walk or a hike together. It takes basically zero equipment, save for a good pair of shoes and some water perhaps, and it doesn’t matter if you stay indoors or go venture through any of Nevada’s amazing landscapes, up Mount Rose, around Davis Creek or out near Pyramid Lake. Anyone can walk, and speed and distance do not matter here, either. You can chat with your family while you’re on the move about their observations of the world around them, teach them about the wildlife and vegetation, and you might learn more than you realize when you begin to see the world through your childrens’ eyes.
It’s understandably really challenging, when you’re a parent, to find a way to devote time for exercise nearly every single day. However, it’s incredibly important to do so for all the obvious reasons, but also because you’ll likely find that regularly exercising makes you a better parent and a better partner. While none of us can extract a 25th hour from the day to devote to exercise, one way that we can ensure that we get our daily dose of sweat on our brows is by involving our family in exercise activities. Doing so, will teach the youngest ones in our families that exercise is a normal and enjoyable part of a healthy and active lifestyle, and it will surely help set a positive example and precedent for your children to follow as they grow, develop and mature, as well.