Bringing Family Closer Through Fitness
Sep 13, 2017 02:00PM ● Published by Caley Breese
It’s a fact; today’s families have less time than ever for quality experiences. However, the importance of making the time to connect cannot be overstated. Even trying to find time in the schedule for everyone to exercise may seem like a luxury, however, some families are finding ingenious ways to make it work.
Case in point, “GrooveaRooDance.” This creative dance/exercise trend originated in California and combines the practice of “baby wearing” with simple free form dance moves that allows for a bonding experience as well as a workout for the parent. It also provides early exposure to healthy lifestyle practices in a practical way to even the youngest of children.
Since children are very influenced by their parents’ behavior, the theory here is if they see you living an active lifestyle, they will most likely follow suit as they get older. It is also important to encourage physical activity to promote your child’s growth and development. Additionally, children having a solid daily exercise routine have a better chance at succeeding in other areas of life, such as academically, socially, and mentally.
While we haven’t found that specific “GrooveaRoo” class in our area yet, there are many opportunities to partner locally to get that quality family exercise time in—just check the list of wellness classes offered by your nearest local hospital.
In the meantime, there’s no time like the present to get started on your own family approach to fitness. If you have infants, exposure to stimuli is key; try taking them for a daily walk in the stroller or baby carrier, or play and talk with them regularly. Or if you want to get a workout in, you can take a cue from GrooveaRoo and strap him or her to your chest or back in a baby carrier and do some leg exercises, such as squats or lunges. (Dads, you can do this, too!) You can also hold your baby in front of you as you do some core work, like sit-ups. If you have a young one that’s a little older and bigger, put him or her on your back for some push-ups.
Once your child is a little bit older and can walk, exercise becomes easier. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there is no set amount of time a young child (typically aged between two- and five-years-old) should be active per day; however, they should be active throughout the day, not just all at once. Taking your toddler or preschooler to the playground or enrolling them in a gymnastics class is a great way to promote physical activity. For rainy or cold days, take them to the aquarium or a museum to get some steps in, or start a dance party at home.
For older children and adolescents, between the ages of six and 17, the National Institutes of Health recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Again, exercise should be practiced throughout the course of a day. While most of their physical activity should consist of moderate-intensity aerobics, they should work on muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening exercises as well, such as climbing and jumping. Enrolling your child in organized sports is a great way for them to not only stay active, but to have a healthy social lifestyle, as well.
PBS Parents recommends a few of the following tips to encourage family fitness and a healthy lifestyle that everyone can try together.
Exercise during commercial breaks.
Sometimes family time consists of watching television in the evening. During commercials breaks, encourage your kids to follow you in doing some exercises, such as push-ups, running in place, or sit-ups. This allows everyone to get up and get their heart pumping.
Start a dance party.
Dancing relieves stress and can help burn off calories in an easy, fun way. Hit the radio or turn on some tunes that your tots love, and get everybody shakin’!
Create your own workout routine or video.
Be creative and make up your own exercise routine—something that your kids will have fun with. You can also take it a step further and make that workout routine into a video, using your kids as the leads. This also allows you to use the video for future workouts.
Getting extra steps in.
When you take your kids to the store, park a little further in order to get some extra walking in or, if you can, take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Dedicate a time for family fitness every day.
Whether you take a walk around the neighborhood together or do some yoga stretches in the living room during TV time. A little goes a long way if it’s done consistently, and it will allow your family to bond, as well as teach your kids how important physical activity is!