Parenting is a tough job that only becomes more difficult when attempting to get a child to perform any unsavory task. Whether you are trying to get your children to clean their rooms or just eat broccoli, you might find trying to teach healthy choices is often an uphill battle. However, there is one battle that is definitely worth the time, energy and frustration: getting your family active and healthy. If you’re having trouble getting your kids or spouse motivated to get off the couch and get fit, here are a few ways to make the challenge more enjoyable for everyone.
Make Exercise Fun
First off, one of the best ways to make exercise fun is to completely eliminate the word from your vocabulary. Nothing will take the wind out of your children’s sails faster than seemingly negative words — and to a child, “exercise” is no picnic in the park. So instead of saying “it’s time to exercise,” say, “let’s go play a game of baseball” or “let’s go for a family walk after dinner.” While enjoying the activity with your family, make it even more fun by challenging one another. See which one of you can run up a hill the fastest, or who can do the most jumping jacks in less than one minute. Whatever activity you perform as a family, just remember to inject as much fun as possible into the experience and your kids are guaranteed to not only participate, but also remain enthusiastic.
Get in Touch With Nature
One qualm you might have about getting fit as a family is the added expense. Yes, it is pricey to join a gym together or spend money on a new bicycle for each member of the family. However, there are many inexpensive ways you can get everyone active, and each involves getting back in touch with Mother Nature. Check out the state or national parks in your area. In many instances, a season pass is quite reasonable. If your kids aren’t thrilled by the idea of spending their Saturday afternoons hiking the trails of a state park, make the experience more fun by organizing a scavenger hunt. For example, give each child a list of 10 things to find on the hike, such as a moss-covered rock or a pine cone larger than an apple. The kids will enjoy scouring the woods for these objects, and you’ll enjoy actually being able to spend the afternoon outside the house.
Play Video Games
Going for a family walk or hike is a great way to stay in shape. However, there will always be those rainy days when your kids would rather spend their free time playing video games. Instead of fighting with your adolescents or teens to put down the controller, hand your child a fitness video game and play it as a family. There are a variety of fitness, dance and aerobic video games that provide your child with a fun way to shed pounds or stay in shape. Several feature cartoon characters and are ideal for the younger members of your family. For your adolescent or teen, there are dance or aerobic video games that encourage them to stay in shape while moving to the beat of popular songs.
Leave Your Car in the Garage
How many times have you needed a loaf of bread or gallon of milk from the local convenience store and automatically piled everyone into the minivan or car to drive three or four blocks? Whenever possible, leave the car in the driveway and instead ride your bike to the grocery store or walk your kids home from school. You’ll be amazed at how quickly leaving your car at home will improve your fitness level. In addition, walking or biking also saves money on gas, which you can then put toward purchasing that amazing workout gear you noticed last weekend.
Whether giving in and enjoying a different kind of video game with your kids or exploring the fitness options at your local or state park, there are a number of ways families can get active, fit and healthy together. Just remember that the best way to motivate your kids to get healthy is to make any activity fun.
About the Author: Henderson Myers is a guest blogger and father of three. Henderson recently lost 30 pounds by dining on the delicious menu options available through the diet to go website, which are found at http://diettogo.com/.