Fit Factor: This Summer, Keep Fit With The Fam!

With Father’s Day around the corner, now is the time to start thinking up fun, active ways to spend time with your dad. This year, add a new activity to do to make Father’s Day special, like climbing a mountain or going bird watching. Being physically active with your dad (and your family in general), helps build a stronger bond between you and your family and creates a culture of wellness in the home. Children’s attitudes and actions surrounding nutrition and exercise are shaped by what they observe their parents doing, so it’s never too early to get your family engaged in physical activity. While family bonding is important for everyone, it’s especially pertinent for people with a chronic disorder to feel connected to their family and friends. This summer, use physical activity to build a tighter family, along with a stronger, healthier you!

Regular physical activity has been proven to yield many long term health benefits. It can help prevent chronic diseases, reduce fat and control weight, promote bone, muscle and joint development, condition heart and lungs, relieve stress, increase energy and self-esteem and improve overall strength and endurance, to name a few. It can also promote positive mental and emotional health, decreasing the potential of becoming depressed. Regular low-impact, aerobic exercise can help with conditions affecting the joints, making it easier to manage pain and do everyday tasks. Bone and muscle strengthening are particularly important for children, adolescents and older adults.

The CDC recommends two and a half hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week for adults. Demonstrate to your family the importance of prioritizing exercise by scheduling it into your daily routine. Invite your kids, parents and siblings to join you for a workout. There are many different, unconventional ways to get exercise, especially if you have a group of people, like a family! Check out these ideas to get your family out of the house and moving this summer.

Active Activities for the Whole Family

  • Take a pre- or post-dinner walk with the family. Leave your cell phones at home – it’s surprisingly refreshing to be disconnected, even for a short time.
  • Create family circuit workouts. Set up individual exercise stations, like jumping rope, sit ups, squats, push-ups, lunges and any other bodyweight or weighted exercise you like. With one person in charge of the timer, each member of the family exercises at a separate station for a minute or two and then rotates until everyone has been through them all a few times. You’ll be surprised by the level of intensity this workout can bring!
  • Team up for yard work and gardening. Rake the leaves, mow the lawn, turn the soil and do the weeding – all of which can be challenging physical exercises. Let the kids wash the car in their bathing suits to cool off on a hot summer’s day.
  • Join a charitable fitness event like a walk, run or bike ride. Teach kids the importance of giving back by challenging them to raise funds for others and complete a physical endeavor. Consider joining HFA on our own Gears for Good Bike Rides an amazing adventure to have as a family!
  • Have sports or field days with your children, parents and/or siblings. Load up your car with sporting goods and head to the local park. Spend the day playing your favorite sports as a family.
  • Crank up your new favorite songs and have a family dance party. There are innumerable playlists available online so you can mix it up between something fresh or “oldies” you haven’t heard in years.
  • Climb a mountain. There isn’t much that is more rewarding than getting to the top of a giant mountain. Accomplishing a physical feat such as this, as a family, can foster bonds and boost self-esteem, not to mention give everyone a solid cardio challenge!

There are many more ways to be physically active with your loved ones. Use your geographical surroundings to your advantage! No matter where you live, you can always find (or create) fun fitness activities to do as a family. Remember to stay safe and to always check with your physician or physical therapist prior to beginning any physical activity.