Families that Play Together, Stay Together
The following ideas can help you and your family get fit and have fun together:
It is said that too much of anything is a bad thing, but the one
exception might just be walking. The benefits of walking are numerous
and varied, including lowering blood pressure and "bad" LDL cholesterol,
raising "good" HDL cholesterol, reducing risk of type 2 diabetes,
managing weight, improving mood and maintaining healthy, strong muscles.
The New England Journal of Medicine reported in 2002 that walking
provides health benefits similar to that of vigorous exercise and
reduces the incidence of heart attacks in women. The study found that
women who walk just three hours a week may reduce their risk of a heart
attack by 30 to 40 percent and those who walk more than five hours
weekly may reduce their risk by 50 percent.
- Go on post-dinner family walks.
Instead of switching on the television, get outside when you can! Bring
the dog along or let the kids bring bikes, tricycles or scooters. Pull
little ones in a wagon. Make walking a habit and give your kids
something to look forward to each night.
- Walk to your regular activities, such as work or school, when possible. Also, walk to places where extracurricular activities occur such as the library, soccer field, park or playground.
- Sign up for a charity walk/run.
Many communities offer "fun runs" or runs/walks specifically for
families sometimes pets are even allowed! In addition to being a fun
event, you can set a good example for children by giving back to a good
- Hike. Pack a picnic basket and head to a nearby state park or scenic area.
- Bicycle. Take the family out for a spin after dinner or on the weekends for a long bike ride. Go to a nearby park or forest preserve.
- Exercise during household chores.
Turn up music and boogie down while cleaning. Beautify your home while
bonding with family members, laughing and exercising all at once.
- Do yard work together.
Rake leaves, shovel snow, dig up dirt, pull weeds, garden, etc. Bonus:
plant a vegetable garden together and double up with a healthy eating
- Play in water. Swim at a local pool or lake. Get out the slip ?n' slide and squirt guns in the summer and let loose!
- Glide. Rollerblade or ice skate.
- Act like or be a kid. Play catch, tag or frisbee. Hula hoop, hopscotch or jump rope.