Have you been trying to increase your physical activity, but all your family wants to do is relax by the fire, watch a movie or play a game instead of something physically active? It’s all too tempting to spend your time doing what they want to do because of course you want to spend quality time with your loved ones. You also need to exercise. What if you could get in your exercise WHILE spending quality time with your family? How can you get your family to join you in your efforts to become more active?
You might start by just having a casual conversation during dinner about why it’s important to be more active as a family. You could focus on it will help everyone feel better on a daily basis, help prevent future health problems, it can help promote a healthy body image and it’s just overall good for the whole family. You may have to adjust this conversation depending on the ages of your family members and what they will understand.
How do you actually get the whole family to exercise more? Nagging your family to exercise more does not usually work, so you often have to look for ways to be active and have fun at the same time. If you can find something that appeals to everyone’s sense of fun, you’re much more likely to get them all on the same page. Maybe you can all go hiking, biking, ice skating or canoeing on weekends. On weekdays, try to squeeze in a walk around the neighborhood or play tag in the back yard. Keep a soccer ball, baseball, baseball bat, baseball glove, jump ropes, hula hoops and other active equipment handy so you can play in the back yard or at a local park whenever the mood strikes.
Limit time spent in front of the TV, playing video games or staring at a computer screen. The more time you spend in front of a screen, the less time you have to be active and your health risks rise. Limit the screen time for everyone in the house to no more than two hours per day. Your children will need to use their imaginations to keep them occupied and may find themselves naturally being more active because they cannot plop in front of the TV all day. If your family has a tough time giving up the video games, consider allowing them to play only ones that require them to be jumping around or dancing while playing the game.
While this all may take a little time to get everyone on the same page, you’ll probably find that everyone enjoys the change. It’s nice to have a little more family time and being active is not only good for you in your weight loss journey, it’s great for the health and well-being of the entire family.