Guest blogger Stacie Connerty of The Divine Miss Mommy shares her tips for sneaking in a little extra exercise.
“March is National Nutrition Month and a part of nutrition is living a healthier lifestyle which includes exercise. As a family of five always on the go, we are not exactly going to the gym together. However, we do manage to find ways to sneak in exercise whenever possible.
I am sure that you already know that exercise can benefit you and your family but did you also know that exercise:
- Promotes health?
- Helps achieve and maintain a healthy body weight?
- Builds and maintains strong, healthy muscles, bones and joints
- Aids in the development of important interpersonal skills (even more so for participation in team sports)?
- Improves the quantity and quality of your sleep?
- Promotes improved school attendance and enhances academic performance?
- Gives kids greater self-esteem and better self-images?
- Prevents or delays the development of many chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension)?
- Helps improve motor coordination and enhances the development of various motor performance skills?
*Source: American Council on Exercise
Ready to get fit with your family? Here are a few ways that you can start today.
1. Park far away
We used to drive around and wonder who parked in those far away spaces. Now we know. My family will park at the furthest spot we can find no matter where we go. This is one of my favorite ways to get a lot of steps in and something that is really easy to do with kids. At first the kids grumbled but now they like finding the spot and pointing out where we should park.
2. Jump in a lake or a pool
Swimming is one of the best activities that your child can do to really burn calories and you can even burn calories as well. We have a Y membership but we also belong to a community pool and stay at hotels with pools whenever we travel. My children love swimming and it is an activity that we never say no to.
3. Go ride a bike or scooter
This is something that we often do together and that my kids do while I am walking in the neighborhood. Hop on your bike and set your own pace. We love bike riding so much that we have a one week bike trip planned for later this year.
4. Go outside and play.
Go outside and do cartwheels or jumping jacks or throw a frisbee. Just getting outside to get some fresh air is always inspiring. You can see who can speed walk the fastest around the neighborhood. Consider having a hula hooping contest or see who can shoot the most baskets. Last week we had a jump roping contest and my 9 year old daughter won after jump roping for 20 minutes.
5. Go to the Park
I cannot go to the park without immediately being in a great mood. There is just something about everyone having fun and all of the green space that makes me smile.
We go to our local park at least once a week in the winter and 2-3 times a week the rest of the year. Pushing the swings is great exercise for the parents and climbing on the monkey bars is good for the kids.
6. Take the family bowling
My family loves to bowl. Where we live, our local bowling alley offers 99 cents games on Wednesdays and Sundays so we end up going on those days. Check with your local bowling to find out when they have the best deals and look online for coupons before heading out.
7. Go roller skating
Remember renting those funky skates as a kid? The local skating rinks still have the same skates AND the same carpeting. You and your husband may be able to sneak a couples skate or two while your kids can enjoy doing laps around you. Although in our family it is the parents lapping the kids.
8. Participate in a family 5K
My kids have been participating in the local IronKids Triathlon for the past four years. In order to do something for the entire family, we have started signing up for 5K’s in our town. There are several during the year and when we cannot find one, we create our own. We have mapped out where about 2.5 kilometers is from our house so we have an exact course.
Don’t worry if you aren’t a runner. You can walk or speed walk and you will be fine. I didn’t run the first few but the last one I was able to run the last one.
9. Clean the house
You are probably thinking, “What?” We set a timer for 20 minutes and believe it or not this works every time. Speed cleaning is a great way to get your heart rate up and get some cardio in. The person who cleans the fastest and finishes their section first wins. We always have a small prize for the winner and my kids become serious competitors when a prize is involved.
10. Skip the elevator and take the stairs
This was a hard change to make as a family. The fact is for some reason my kids just love pushing elevator buttons. When we decided to start taking the stairs, we got a little pushback from them. My son is now an expert at finding staircases. Whether we are in an office building, hotel or even on a cruise, we take the stairs as much as possible. Sometimes we compromise and will take the elevator but we always take the stairs going up.
Getting exercise in for the entire can be tough but with a few of these ideas and a goal (try two or three days a week at first), you and your family can starting burning calories right away.”