It’s been a while since I last posted, but with Christmas taking over and the festive season seeming to go on forever, I think it’s about right! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a a great New Year’s…We certainly did!
One of my New Year’s resolutions this year, as you probably know, is to make more time for exercise in my daily/weekly routine. This is not just for myself and Marcus, but for the kids too. Luckily, us having a dog makes it that bit easier to get out and about…but it is all too easy to let Marcus do the evening walk while I get the kids ready for bed and flop in front of the TV.
So I’ve been looking at ways to get the whole family moving more together, as isn’t exercise always better when its done with a group? It all counts as quality family time, after all.
It’s also just as important for your little ones to get at least one hour of physical activity a day, as this builds essential motor skills; co-ordination, and their growing hearts, lungs, bones and muscles. It also allows them to learn just what their bodies are capable of and discover their favourite physical activities early on.
Here are some tips for family fitness that I can’t wait to try in 2015.
1. Pre or Post Dinner Walks
Taking a walk together before or after dinner is a great way to boost the metabolism and prevent sleepiness after eating. (If you have a dog demanding to be walked, this makes it easier!)
Allow toddlers to alternate time in and out of their buggy to get them used to walking, and you can even make it into more of a game by asking your children to spot things along the way (a certain colour cat; a type of tree; a type of house etc.)
Dancing is by far one of the more fun ways to be active. If you have older children you can dance to whatever type of music you like, but for younger ones it might be best to stick to a CD or DVD of their favourite TV show where you can help them learn the actions to all the songs.
Push the furniture out of the way and create more space – this will help you move more and make it more fun. Cheap coloured or flashing lights will help to make it a disco!
3. Ditch the Car
You might be used to hopping in the car everyday because its more convenient and leaves you more time to make those packed lunches. But walking or taking the bus to school/playgroup is a small change you can make to fit more activity into your day, as well as being more beneficial for the environment.
Use the walk to fit in more social time with your youngsters. Ask them about their day ahead at school – what projects they’re working on; who they like to play with. You can also invent spotting games to play along the way, or test them on their spellings.
4. Get Gardening
As the weather starts to get warmer in the next couple of months, you’ll no doubt be turning your attention to the garden. Why not get your kids to help you by giving them simple tasks to do? Watering the plants; digging up soil to plant new bulbs; gathering leaves or pulling up small weeds are easy jobs that your kids will likely throw themselves into.
Gardening has been shown to be one of the best activities for improving motor skills and is also a great opportunity to teach your kids more about plants and vegetables.
5. Weekly Sports Night (or Day)
The warmer weather is also a brilliant reason to get to your local park or playing field and kick around a ball. You can maybe even invite some neighbours’ kids who are of a similar age to your own. Set up a game of 5-a-side (or more) and if it all goes well, try to make it a regular thing.
Remember its not all about getting the rules just right. Its about having fun and getting your kids to be active, whilst possibly making some new friends.
6. Go on a Nature Walk
If you’re lucky enough to live nearby some forestry or woodland, make the most of this by taking the kids on a long nature walk at a weekend. Everyone takes a small lunch, and puts on their wellies or walking boots. Then you can follow a designated trail or path, asking the kids to spot different types of bugs, furry animals and trees/flowers along the way.
If you don’t have a nature spot nearby, there are many forests you can drive or take the train to up and down the UK. Many of them contain preserved species of woodland creatures and have experienced rangers on hand to guide you.