Guest Author - Terri Johansen
This year try something new, family fitness as a holiday gift. Change up the family traditions and introduce the idea of family fitness as a gift for the entire family! Here are some ideas for involving your family in a healthy and fun holiday present.
1. Get a family gym membership. You will want to go to a gym that is child friendly such as the YMCA. Most YMCA’s offer activities for entire families.
2. How about purchasing a WII or an Xbox? These usually come with a basic DVD of sports and games. They are great fun and the whole family can play along. If you already have a game station then invests in some new fitness DVD’s.
3. Purchase exercise DVD’s to use on the television so your family can enjoy a fun work out together. You might want to try this activity as a replacement for family game night or just add another family night to the week.
4. Does your family have a fitness activity that you enjoy doing together? If so get some new equipment to motivate participation. If you don’t have an activity then learn something new together. Here are some outdoor ideas to try: ice skating, cross-country skiing, basketball, tennis, volleyball, swimming or hiking. There are also indoor sports and exercises such as: try a Zumba class, aerobics class, Pilates, spinning, circuit training, martial arts, or perhaps something else that the new gym provides.
5. Get pedometers for the whole family and start walking together. Walking can be incorporated into many fun learning activities such as parks that have walking paths with exercise equipment along the way. Some parks have walking trails that identify plant life, animal tracks, and trees and shrubs. Often available are walks mapped out by cities providing tours of historic homes in your town.
6. This idea should involve a lot of forethought and willingness to stick to the commitment. Adopt a puppy from the local animal shelter. This puppy will need to be walked and can be incorporated as part of the family walk, of course taking turns with who holds the leash.
7. Pool your resources. Take the money you would spend on individual gifts and buy one or more pieces of exercise equipment. Consider things such as a treadmill, stationary bikes, elliptical trainer, or weight machines. Try a friendly competition in order to keep the whole family involved. Track the miles or speed walked or biked; or how much weight and how many repetitions you can do on the weight machine. Keep in mind that competition will need to be monitored so it doesn’t get out of control and to keep safety a priority.
8. Put together an inexpensive gym that the whole family can use together. Equipment to consider are dumbbells of different weight, resistance bands, fitness balls, Bosu boards, medicine balls, mats, DVD’s, books, and much more. Take the family on a shopping spree and pick out workout items together.
9. Make a family fitness scrapbook. Take pictures of each other working out, with your new fitness equipment, at the gym, or outdoors. Cut out motivational pictures from magazines and find inspirational quotes. Put copies of competition scores or pictures of your new equipment and your wish list. Spend time as a family putting the book together and remember to update it as you continue family fitness.
10. Last but definitely not least is rest. Fitness provides strength for your body but an important component of fitness that is often overlooked is relaxation for the mind. Some people prefer structured forms of relaxation such as meditation or yoga, while others prefer taking a nap or watching TV. Just make sure you get a minimum of three workouts a week either together, individually or a mix.
Happy holidays, and may your family find fitness this year and in the next. Be healthy, be happy!
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