Being physically active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, numerous studies have shown that regular exercise helps combat depression, increases energy levels, helps maintain a healthy weight, improves sleep and helps combat a variety of health problems such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Unfortunately, it is hard to find the time to exercise between the pressures of work, running a home and raising a family.
It is not only adults who are struggling to find the time for exercise. Obesity rates amongst Canadian children have tripled over the last 30 years. Activities like watching TV and playing computer games have taken the place of playing outdoors. This, coupled with a high intake of sugary foods and trans-fats has led to this increase in obesity amongst the Canadian youth. In fact, over 30% of children fall into the overweight and obese categories, which can have life-long health implications.
The time has come for Canadian families to rethink the way they live and to change their understanding of exercise. Working out does not have to mean heading to the gym for an hour of running on the treadmill. It can be fun and it can include the whole family. It is about living an active lifestyle that doubles up as quality time spent as a family. This is possibly some of the best Canadian family health advice you could get.
Below are some great ways to incorporate family exercise into your schedule:
- Build a walk into your daily routine.
Take a walk after dinner every night. It is a great way to wind down after a long day. Be sure to keep it fun though. You can do this by creating little games to play while you walk or telling jokes.
- Chose a new sport to start together.
Go for horseback riding lessons or hip-hop dance classes as a family. Learning something new together keeps exercising fun and exciting.
Put on some fun music and get silly. The sillier the dance moves, the better. This is also a great way to get chores done.
- Plan an outdoor activity once a week.
Each family member can take a turn to pick the week’s activity. Sledding, cycling, swimming or even a backyard ballgame are all great ways to get active outdoors.
- Exercise for a good cause.
Attend charity walkathons and give each family member a chance to pick their charity event.
- Get into the yard.
Yard work is great exercise. In autumn you can rake up leaves and jump into the piles, in winter, build snowmen. In spring and summer let the kids help with digging in the garden and planting.
- Have family Olympics.
Create two teams and let each team build an obstacle course for the other to complete.
- Give active gifts.
When buying the next Christmas or birthday gift for your child, choose something that encourages physical activity. Think along the lines of a new pair of skates or a bicycle.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep it fun. Once it becomes a chore, no one is going to be keen to get moving. Include your children in the decision-making process as well. This will keep them interested and will ensure that your family stays active together for years to come.
Contributed by Guest Author