It is hard to admit that we are getting fat as a nation. While it may be hard to admit the words, it is not hard to see the evidence as we rarely attempt any kind of family exercise. Instead we drive our sagging, sparks flying everywhere minivans to the fast-food drive-through and the big kid store to buy reinforced jeans for our tubby kids. It is no longer just the adults that need to be chastised and berated, but the children too.
Overall, as a nation we are fat, from our chubby little babies to our jiggling grammies and grampies. It is no longer one age group that is the biggest or the fattest: It is spread pretty evenly. It is time for the head of the household to haul her jumbo buns off the broken sofa, turn off the television and gather her brood to her ample bosom. It is time for family exercise to be an everyday activity.
Bikes for all
Bike riding is a fun and popular family exercise. In most areas of the country, there are bike paths fairly near most homes where you can safely bike with your child. Make sure that everyone has the right sized bike and a bike helmet and knows the rules. For instance, make sure that everyone knows to pull off to the right when faster moving traffic needs to pass by. For the littlest ones, use a safety approved baby seat and their own helmet or a bike trailer. The adults should trade off who gets the “extra weight” for each outing.
Family feud, fitness style
You know the neighbor that just churns your butter because they think they are so much better than you? Challenge them to a fitness competition with a month of preparation for the two teams. Have a weigh-in at the beginning and the end as well as weekly mini-competitions. Not only do you pull together as a unit to beat a rival, but you get some family exercise as well.
The amazing obstacle course in the back yard
Set out tires that you run through like real football players. Hula hoop in one section until a timer goes off and then jump rope in another. Wind in and out of the swing set legs. Set up a balance beam that you have to walk across. Swing on a rope. Whatever you can think of to do, add it to your family obstacle course! However, keep family exercise activities fun and challenging but age appropriate. Don’t be shocked if others show up and ask to try it out as well.
Baby and me classes
While baby is still tiny, trying baby and me classes are meant to be bonding as well as a little bit of exercise for mom and dad. Getting your baby used to exercise is important, however, because it will give him a strong foundation for the rest of his life.
Dancing with toddler
Thankfully, a lot of the shows that are popular with toddlers feature get up and move activities, so they make a perfect family exercise activity. Not only should they be performing the activities that are on the show, but they can teach them to the other family members later. Make sure that everyone gets up and dances, letting the toddler lead the way.
Organized sports, rambunctious play
Get your child into sports, and volunteer to help coach or help run a practice. If you show your child that you will participate, they might be more excited about doing it. In addition to organized sports, though, make sure that you and your children are getting outside to do crazy things in the fresh air. Declare a girls-against-boys snowball fight. Roll down a grassy hillside on a summer day. Go swimming. Go for a hike in the autumn air. It if involves the word family and a verb, do it.
Remember, have fun and be creative in your family exercise activities. You will not only see a decrease in your waist size but an increase in your family bond.
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