Olivia Nicholas is guest posting today on a topic that many of us are thinking about this week – Exercise!
I am a mommy to twin boys, and my paying job is a writer and blogger. I love to write about the thrills and pitfalls of being a parent. Its a tough job to juggle all things and be in a million places at once…so putting our daily victories on paper is a way for me to release and reflect on how awesome my fellow mommies and I are.
It’s a great idea to get your whole family involved in your fitness campaign and for all of you to exercise together. The advantages include setting a good example to children and encouraging healthy habits that will benefit them throughout their lives, increasing the amount of time you all spend together, and making it easier for you all to stay motivated.
Exercising alone can be boring; involving loved ones makes the experience much more enjoyable. You are more likely to challenge each other, encouraging everyone to do their best and try new things. It’s also safer to exercise in a group – you won’t be out alone, if someone is hurt there’ll be others to help and you’ll know if anyone is trying to do too much. Finally, if you’ve committed to joining a group for a game or exercise routine it will be hard to back out.
Exercises for the whole family
So what exercises are best for getting the family fit? That depends on the ages and abilities of those involved, but anything that gets you slightly out of breath and that can be maintained for twenty minutes or so will be of real benefit in improving cardio-vascular fitness.
If most of you are out of shape, then start off gently and build up the time and activity levels as you get more fit.
- Walking is a perfect way to start as it’s free, requires no skill or special equipment and can be done for any length of time to suit your needs. Start off by taking a gentle stroll together, 2-3 times a week. Walk far and fast enough that you increase your heart rate and breath a little faster, but don’t do so much that you’re gasping for breath. Gradually walk a little further or a little faster until you feel fit enough to try something more demanding.
- Swimming is great for beginners, those who are physically weak (maybe recovering from illness or elderly) as the water supports your weight and reduces strain on joints. Swimming can be great fun and is often enjoyed by children. It’s also an activity that can be done at different levels. Young children could just splash around in a paddling pool while other members of the family race each other up and down a big pool.
- Playing a game is a good idea. Softball, badminton, relay races or basketball (or modified forms of these) are all great, especially if you have a large family or can challenge neighbours to a match. You could perhaps devise your own obstacle races with easier hurdles for youngsters to negotiate to make it fair.
- Circuit training is another possibility. For these you have distinct ‘stances’ you do for a set period (eg 30 seconds or a minute) before a short recovery period and then on to the next stance. Activities to do on each stance could include star jumps, running in place, crunches, skipping rope and using any fitness equipment you may already own. Less fit and younger people could do half jacks, jog in place etc to make it easier. Set a timer or have someone with a stopwatch and whistle moving you around the circuit – that’s an ideal way to involve someone who isn’t able to exercise in for any reason.
- If any members of your family are skilled at a particular sport, activity or exercise, or would like to be, then you could all try it as a way of varying your exercise routines. Children could teach parents to skate or roller blade perhaps, or maybe grandparents could show the kids how to achieve a perfect strike down the bowling alley.
- Try doing something active on any family trips you take. Rather than going to the movies and MacDonalds, go to a water park or have a go at horse riding or ice skating. When booking your holidays, choose a resort with plenty of sports and activities included in the price – that way you’re far more likely to try them.
If you start gently, pick activities you enjoy and all encourage each other, you’ll soon have a fit family who are motivated to stay that way.
Olivia Nicholas is a writer and blogger with Storkie. She has been writing articles and blogging for the wedding industry over 10 years and is always happy to share her passion for life and experiences through her work.