by Kaila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
How great would it be if you could have your whole family involved in your exercise routine? Wouldn’t it be nice to be working together on having a healthy and fit life? Well, it is possible, but it takes time and effort. Family exercise will improve the health of your loved ones, make exercise more fun, and at the same time develop stronger connections between all of you. You only have to use a little creativity to find the way to make it work for everyone.
How do you get everyone to start?
In first place, analyze what level of participation your family is ready for. If your entire family is up for going the whole nine yards, you could even go as far as setting up a Family Olympics. But, if you find yourself having a struggle getting your family to do anything together, start out by setting up small workout plans. That might be the better option. I suggest that you start by simply talking to them about the benefits of exercise and how it is important part of our daily living.
As they come down the steps each morning for breakfast, hit them with a quick, but effective lesson about a certain exercise and what its benefits are. If this doesn’t workout, try placing a healthy and fit living bulletin board in your living right next to the tv or on the fridge door. Place health magazines at eyes view, like our Health and Fitness Talk, which is filled with lots of information on fitness articles and the best ways to maintain healthy. Use all the resources that will help you get your point across without having to say much of anything. For example, if your child or one of your children is a dedicated fan of sports, an article about a successful athlete who commits to fitness could trigger a positive mind set in them to go a long way. Posting stories about other people who have achieved many great things while being active with exercise will motivate just about anyone. What are other ideas that can be handy?
Here are a few other ideas to get your family centered on fitness:
Sometimes starting from home can be the best thing to do. You can combining exercise and household chores to get them in on the movement. On small pieces of sticky pads, write down chores and body weight exercises. Throw the papers into a bowl and have everyone pick out their assigned chore and exercise. Maybe Mom gets to clean the rooms and do a set of squats every few minutes until she is finished, meanwhile one of the children is cleaning the kitchen and doing forward lunges, and so forth.
What I want you to understand is that the combinations are endless and you can also mix things up with yard work, seasonal chores, and even some aerobic components like jumping rope. It’s all a matter of being creative.
Hiring a certified personal trainer to come up with a program for each family member based on their individual needs could not be a bad idea. If Mom is looking forward to toning her body and her teenage daughter wants to improve her basketball skills, a similar circuit can be set up at home, indoors and outdoors, to help both reach their goals.
Rotate between each other and pick an exercise at the beginning of the week and do as many reps as they can. Then throughout the week, train with the goal of improving by the weekend. Use something small, but motivating to prize the family member who has the highest percentage increase. But, make everyone aware that they are all making progress.
Set one evening to be the family fitness night. A different person should design the family workout that you will all do together each week. By switching it up, it gives everyone a chance to participate and maybe even come up with new ideas. Whether it’s swimming, rollerblading, walking, bike riding, or a football tag game. The important thing is that everyone gets to do something they enjoy, and your workout will never become boring or out of style.
It would also come in handy if you buy small pieces of exercise equipment to keep around the house. Such as, dumbbells, 5 pound weights, stretch bands, or a medicine ball. Always remember to set some fitness rules to keep everyone from harming themselves during the practice of an exercise. Also rules for when and where you should exercise.
During every TV commercial break, exercise, and stretch before bed each night. Rotate the equipment you bought throughout the house on a daily basis. Do a similar scavenger hunt indoors. If you find the dumbbells placed in the garage, you have to use it for one minute and try to get as many reps as possible within that time gap. Next time you may find it in the living room, or in the attic.
At the end of each week, measure your fitness progress to determine your family’s overall fitness average. Add each member’s own calculation of their progress in fitness for the week; zero meaning their effort was poor, and 7 meaning they exercised daily.
Then, divide the total by the number of family members. Set a goal to average at least a 5 or 6 each week, prizing the entire family if the goal is met. Maybe going out for dinner at a nice and healthy place can be the motivator. And remember, it should be healthy, not junk food!
Never forget to make it fun for everyone! As you continue to progress as a family, teach your children about discipline, goal setting, and the importance of health and family time spent together. Enjoy your family at all times, no matter how busy your daily live may seem!
Exercise for Kids
As fitness is being encouraged worldwide for both adults and youth, more and more kids are becoming interested in weight training. Under most circumstances, strength training is safe and encouraged for kids. But we should be careful and keep track of our children’s exercise routine, because when done incorrectly, whether too intensely or too early in life, it can lead to permanent body damage!
Here, let me show you how to help your child take advantage of strength training benefits without going over the limit, or too fast.
Within the Initiation stage, which is the ages 6 through 10, children should engage in low-intensity programs, that concentrate mainly on having fun and trying to better their motor skills. At this age, a child’s body tissues are exposed to injury because they have a low tolerance to lactic acid accumulation, which is the burn we feel in our legs when we run an all out sprint.
Within the second stage, also known as the Athletic Formation stage, from ages 11 through 14, it is important to develop the core muscles. These muscles are the lower back, hips, and abs. Once having this core strength, children can begin training the extremities with body weight or light weights. They should use medicine balls or dumbbells only.
Doing balance and flexibility exercises are also very important parts of their workout routine. Young adolescents can take hands in moderate anaerobic training during the latter stages of this phase.
Once they are within the last stage, known as the Specialization Stage, from ages 15 through 18, teens can start training for high performance development. But, keep a watch for progressive improvements and be careful not to allow them to fall into the dangerous pit of over training! Avoid maximum strength training. One-rep should be the max lifts they should do in order to reduce the risk of injury. One important thing that kids and teens have trouble understanding is that muscles are not gained during the process of working out, but while they are resting! So, do not allow them to go about doing exercises with an “I can do it all” attitude. It won’t get them anywhere good.
As experienced parents, you should make sure to set up generous sleep and nutrition goals to help your child make the most of his or her training. Their workout should be cut to 5 days a week with two days of rest. Their nutritious diet should be consulted with your child’s general doctor. Make sure that they are always well hydrated and encourage them to stretch before every workout session.
A great motivation for keeping your child involved in a regular exercise routine is by allowing them to apply their training to the sport of interest they may have. This way they may see what the good benefits of being fit are and therefore be motivated to maintain that way.
This may help them to make a habit of exercising even after turning into adults and moving out of home. Remember that a person’s ways are structured during childhood and if they are trained to be healthy and fit as a child, then most likely they will keep that same mind set as a an adult.
Also remember that being well geared-up can too, have an impact on the way they perform their exercises. So, keep them geared-up with the appropriate fitness wear and shoes designed for the job at hand. Shorts, sweat pants, windbreaker suits, T-shirt, sneakers, a water bottle, and a sweat towel, is all the equipment they need.
Here are some exercises and games that can be fun and effective for your child:
1.) Rope/wall climbing
2.) Running Track
3.) Bike Riding
4.) O.U.T. A game that requires agility for jumping, catching, and tossing a ball in seconds.
5.) Kick ball: A game that involves having to run, kick and jump to avoid getting hit by the ball.
6.) Roller Blading
These are only some of the many things your child can do to keep themselves active and fit.
For a broader list of exercises and fitness games, take a couple of minutes to search on the web with your child and pick the ones that catch his or her attention the most.
Help your child find the exercises, games, and sports that best suits them, and remember to consult their doctor, and guide them to a healthy and fit childhood!