Does your family walk right towards the television after dinner and melt into the couch? Do your children spend a lot of time playing games on a screen for their entertainment? If so, it’s time to make a plan to get everyone moving.
Being a physically active family matters
Being physically active as a family creates great family memories and it can help:
- Strengthen family bonding: Doing physical activities together strengthens everyone’s sense of belonging. This feeling of being connected contributes to everyone’s health and well-being.
- Improve children’s thinking skills: Children who are physically active tend to have longer attention spans and improved memory skills.
- Improve children’s behaviors: Physically active children tend to have fewer behavioral and disciplinary problems.
- Improve everyone’s moods: When people exercise, chemicals called endorphins are released that are natural mood lifters.
- Relieve family stress: Being physically active helps suppress hormones that cause stress and anxiety.
- Develop healthy habits: When you do physical activities together, everyone is learning about healthy lifestyle choices.
Fun ways to move together
Here are some fun ways to get your family moving together:
- Act it out: Read a story aloud while you march in place. Have everyone else move and act out the story as you read it. “Silly Sally” and “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” are great books to get children moving.
- Chore fun: Put on some fun dance tunes and get everyone moving as they help with the dusting and sweeping.
- Animal races: Put names of animals (monkey, kangaroo, elephant, etc.) on slips of paper and put the slips in a jar. Take turns picking out the slips of paper. Have everyone move like the animal on the paper slip and see what animal is faster.
- Follow the leader dance: As you dance to your favorite tunes together, take turns picking the next dance move for everyone to do together (hop, skip, twist, wiggle, etc.).
- Family challenge circuit: Have everyone stand in a circle. Ask someone to call out a number. Next, name a physical move for everyone to do (run in place, hop on one foot, etc.). Do the move for as many times as the number called. Next, have everyone shift one place to the right. Then repeat the challenge as someone else takes the lead.
- Simon Says: Pick a leader. If the leader says “Simon says jump up and down” then everyone jumps up and down. If the leader simply says “reach to the sky” without saying “Simon says” and that person reaches for the sky, they become the next leader, aka Simon.
Get your family moving by figuring out what days and times of the week work best for everyone to join in the fun and make it a priority by putting it on the family calendar. When families move together it can be fun and rewarding.
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