Read our top tips of how to get the whole family moving for a healthier, happier clann!
There is so much in the media about obesity, heart disease and diabetes, and there is a lot of emphasis on healthy living and keeping active. Trying to keep your family active can be hard with the popularity of tablets, laptops and games consoles, older children especially love spending hours playing on these items.
Younger children are easier to get active as they are usually happy to be outside or just exercising (unknowingly) while playing around the house. If you are worried about your children meeting the 60 minutes of physical activity daily suggested by the World Health Authority then try a few of these tips.
How to get all the family to be more active:
If you can, walk to school.
A lot of schools now have a designated day where they ask all children to walk to school - you can notice the difference (traffic wise) and it is good for the kids too! However, try doing it a couple of days during the week and it can really help towards your exercise for the day. Furthermore, it teaches kids not to rely on cars or buses to get around and using their legs is much better for the environment (and for them).
Get your kids involved in after school sports.
Get your children into after school sports were possible and if they really enjoy a sport, consider joining a club. If they have training once or twice a week and a match it can do wonders for their fitness. You can also get involved yourself with mentoring or coaching. Most clubs run on volunteers and are always looking for people to help out. Again, you will be doing a physical activity together and the common interest might help the bond between you and your child.
Be strict about the TV.
Have a rule about the TV. Allow it to be turned on after 6 pm in the evening after they have done a little workout; be it walking the dog or cycling their bike around for a half-hour. Anything that gets them moving! Skipping is brilliant too, or get all the family off the sofa and go play a game of football or any sport you like. You could even start up mini teams and do a little league between you/neighbours/friends to keep everyone interested.
Remember to stay active during the colder months.
In the winter it can be hard to get out there in the bitter cold days. However, you can always set up scavenger hunts in the house or go for a swim in the local leisure centre! Get the woollies out and wrap up well. Bringing everyone for a walk with the dog (if you have one) or around to the local park. For younger, less enthusiastic kids, bring them to a forest and get them to look out for birds or insects, use your phone to take pictures and when you return home get them to do drawings of what they discovered.
In the summer, get outdoors.
The spring and summer months are a brilliant time to enjoy the outdoors. You can get the whole family involved in gardening, making sure everyone does their bit like watering the plants, scrubbing the patios and sweeping the decking. Get the kids to wash the car (but conserve the water as much as possible) or on a really hot day, start a water fight (again being mindful of the water usage), chasing each other around is sure to get the heart rate up!
Try and organise one active day a week during the spring and summer months that involves some sort of exercise, be it going to the beach, forest walks, animal farms/zoos and hill walking. Having these activities pre-planned will give you all something to look forward to and spending this quality time together as a family is golden.
As parents, keeping healthy is vital but it's important for the kids too. The children will take the lead from you, so be a good role model and adopt the healthy living attitude throughout the home. This along with eating nutritious meals and cutting down on sugar will allow you to all notice the many benefits of been healthier in a few weeks. It is so worth it!