HOW TO GET THE WHOLE FAMILY INVOLVED IN (AND EXCITED BY) EXERCISE
With the start of a new year inevitably comes a few new year resolutions – get fit, lose weight, spend more quality time as a family etc etc.. But despite the best of intentions, so many of us let these goals slide as the months tick over, the schedules fill up and life just seems to get in the way.
But your health and fitness goals and quality time with the family don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and changing the way you look at them might just be the secret to sticking with your goals.
We chatted to Leah Chandler from Kids-Fit Australia who says the secret to sticking with your own goals is getting the whole family involved (and away from those iPads – bonus!). Not to mention the earlier you can get kids excited by and loving exercise the better to get them growing up with a healthy attitude towards fitness.
What are the benefits of getting the whole family involved in fitness together?
There are so many benefits but the biggest one being a connection with each other. When we have fun while exercising, endorphins are released and we connect with who we are with! We also feel like we have accomplished something awesome and we are more likely to cope with stressful situations.
There are, of course, the benefits of becoming and maintaining being fit and well while supporting each other and creating great lifestyle habits together.
What are the best types of exercises/activities to do as a family?
Whatever exercises and activities your family likes to do to get fit! My family loves playing all sorts of sport and loves having fun in the water! We also find that doing yoga and meditation together is a big hit, especially as life is so busy, and we also have children with special needs and this makes a huge difference with learning to connect the brain with the body and learning to 'breathe'. We all need to slow our breathing down sometimes so we can make better decisions.
What age is good to start the kids exercising?
The earlier, the better - just taking kids to the park, playing in the backyard together or having a dance-off is exercising! The key is to always play with your kids and have fun; families that train together, stay together!
How often would you suggest doing it a week?
At least 3-4 times a week together is great to build connection, fitness and great habits, or just do a little bit daily if you are tight on time!
How do you get kids motivated if they’re not interested?
Ask what they would like to do, and incorporate their ideas into exercise. Make it fun and keep positive, and change the surroundings - go to the beach one day and the park the next. Always be happy that they join in and eventually they will ask to do it. Also, however they decide to participate, praise them for it! If they see that it is fun and their own choice, they will eventually make the right choice! Perseverance and patience are key.
Do you have any tips or tricks for sticking with it, because that can often be one of the hardest things to do…
Schedule the time every week and ask all family members for their ideas and agree on when and where you will do it in advance. Also, things in life can change quickly, so talk contingency plans with your family just in case something comes up that which limits your time (eg. a dance-off, home-pool/sprinkler fun, fitness in the backyard instead of an outing etc).
Also, add a rule that phones and technology are not allowed to be on and need to be away etc so you can fully connect with each other and be present in what you are doing.
Do you have any other tips/advice?
Eating well is just as important as finding time to be fit! This is another thing to consider and it is great to involve the whole family, no matter what age the kids are.
Leah Chandler is Kids-Fit Australia. She loves teaching kids and families how to keep fit for everyday life, which includes her own family of 5! Leah is also the founder of the Family-Fit Online Program which helps families connect, laugh and play together while learning the basics of fitness, food, relaxation and fun! You can find out more Family-Fit Online and other programs here: kidsfitaustralia.com or connect via Instagram @ kidsfitaust