How to Make Your Fitness a Family Affair

By DuBose Fitness

Today’s families are busy. You work and your kids go to school. Maybe you have church or religious meetings throughout the week. Then there are music lessons, PTA meetings, late nights at the office and – heavens – when will you do that laundry and bring your suits to the cleaners?

It’s no wonder families aren’t finding time to exercise. After all, there are so many essentials to take care of, it’s easy to find yourself craving relaxation at the end of the day, not fitness!

It’s hard to maintain healthy habits of exercise and good nutrition when you’re a family on the go. But with the rise of obesity in America, it’s becoming more critical that families – and parents – take a step back and reevaluate their day to day routines and make health a priority.


Fitness is a Family Affair

Don’t worry, Mom and Dad – you’re not alone. You don’t have to take time away from your family to incorporate exercise and good nutrition into your life and the lives of your family members. In fact, fitness is fun when the whole family is involved.

The same is true for family nutrition. You don’t have to pick at a salad while your kids and spouse enjoy a loaded baked potato with the works. To the contrary, family nutrition can be fun – even exciting – when all family members are involved.

Don’t expect to change your family’s habits overnight. In fact, don’t count on changing your own habits overnight. Instead, take little steps to incorporate family fitness into your daily and weekly routines, and before you know it, you’ll have healthy family habits that are second nature! Here are a few ways you can implement healthy routines into your family’s lives.


Adopt Interactive Habits

You may ask, “what is an interactive habit?” Well, it’s simple: it’s a healthy family habit that everyone can do!

The smallest of your family members shouldn’t find themselves staring down the end of a leg press machine. So why should you? Instead, find other ways to incorporate physical activity into your day. Go for a walk after dinner or chase the dog around the yard together. Go swimming on Saturday, or row together on Sunday.

Let everyone in your family have a voice in the activities you choose – it’s a sure-fire way to stop grumbling. For instance, let Bobby choose what you do on Monday. Mary Chooses Wednesday, then Mom and Dad choose Friday and Sunday, respectively. Then, switch it up every now and then.

Getting everyone involved in healthy family habits isn’t just good for the family, it’s also going to help you meet your own fitness goals without feeling like you’re the odd one out.


Family Meals = Family Fun

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where everyone else was enjoying their meal while you were mentally adding up calories and grams of fat? You don’t have to do that anymore.

When you get the whole family involved with meal planning, you can be sure that everyone is getting a healthy dinner (or lunch, or breakfast) … and everyone’s eating the same thing. There are a few ways you can implement this.

First, consider planning your weekly menu together. It won’t take long at all, maybe an hour tops on a Sunday evening. Vote on a few family favorites that everyone enjoys, but that are healthy, nutritious, and compatible with everyone’s dietary needs. Then, have each family member choose one meal they’d like to have, or would like to try, and add it to the menu.

Make a list of the ingredients you need, then head to the store. Remember: there’s nothing saying you can’t all shop together. Teach your children how to read nutrition labels on packaged food while you shop, and make sure they’re well-acquainted with the produce department. Your three-year old’s teachers will be impressed when she can identify raw ginger on sight.

Then, get the kids cooking. Even the littlest of children can participate in preparation of family meals. She can tear the greens and he can whisk the marinade. The older kids can begin to learn how to use the oven and the stove, and don’t forget your spouse! Everyone can take part, as a family.

There are two added bonuses to making dinnertime a family affair: first, you’re no longer stuck in the kitchen while everyone else plays. Secondly, you’ll teach your children healthy eating (and cooking) habits that will last a lifetime.


Share the Housework for Extra Activity

Many people assume that a good fitness routine includes activities like sit-ups and squats. But that’s just not true! For example, according to Harvard University, did you know that just by raking leaves, a 155-pound person can burn around 149 calories in just a half hour? Weeding the garden nets you 172 calories and washing the car will burn around 167 calories in 30 minutes.

Get everyone involved! There’s plenty to be done around the house, and let’s face it – it’s much more fun when everyone is involved. Wash the car together and have a hose-fight. Shovel snow together while chunking snowballs.

Even vacuuming will burn calories. It doesn’t matter what you do, just be sure the whole family is involved. Put on your favorite Motown record or play some dubstep, then get moving. Mom and Dad can do the heavy lifting, while even the smallest can dance around in sock feet while they dust.

In short, getting your move on doesn’t have to mean going to the gym, or running laps around the high school track. Instead, get everyone involved with the things that must be done anyway, and get moving!


Family Fitness Makes Your Goals More Attainable

Once the whole family is involved with making healthy lifestyle choices, it’s going to make it that much easier for you to reach your own fitness goals.

Whereas once you were taking time away from your family to hit the gym, or were eating from a different menu from your family entirely, the opposite is now true. Everyone in your family, from your spouse or partner down to the tiniest members of your family unit are now doing just what you are. They’re your support system. Encouraging family fitness is good for your family, and for your own personal goals.

So round up your family for a meeting and get started on developing healthy family habits. You’re more likely to reach your goals with a good support system – and who better to offer that support than your family?

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