It can be difficult to put time aside for fitness at this time of year; your household’s or family’s calendar can fill up with get-togethers and to-dos.
“These days, it seems like a struggle to keep our family moving because there are so many activities competing for attention,” notes Crissy Baumann, founder of the blog First Day of Home and mom of two young boys. The Houston resident makes it a point to plan active things to do during the season, such as hiking and playing sports together, to help her family stay fit. Try these tips to amplify your household’s fitness levels over the next several weeks.
Make it a group effort
It can be easy to slip into unhealthy habits in winter. If your family is more likely to watch a movie marathon than shoot some hoops, take steps to get everyone moving. You can join up with another family to toss a Frisbee or go on a group walk together. When St. Louis-based blogger Carrie Albrecht (Curly Crafty Mom) noticed her husband and kids were spending a lot of time indoors, she got her son to walk with her around the block or on a local trail. “Those walks became the highlight of our day,” she said. “We could talk about the good parts of our day and the parts that were stressing us out.” Before she knew it, she and her son, who runs on a cross-country team, were going on frequent runs together.
Make a list
Albrecht likes to make seasonal lists of healthy activities to enjoy with her family. “I try to pick activities that the entire family will enjoy and that will get us outdoors in the fresh air,” she says. You could do the same and add activities like taking the family snow tubing, going on a winter scavenger hunt, or trying a new-to-you winter sport together, such as snowshoeing.
Help your neighbor
Winter can be a difficult time of year with its shorter, colder days, so look for active ways your family can help others. Get the mail, bring food, or shovel the walkway for neighbors in need, work at a soup kitchen or animal shelter, and, if your community has one, join a group of volunteers to tidy up downtown before or after the holidays.
Cooler temperatures might tempt you to stay inside, but try to resist. Take advantage of the season’s natural beauty and fun activities. For instance, you could gather everyone together for a hike through the woods or for some bird watching. If it snows, go sledding together, build a snowman, or have a snowball fight.
A fun way to stay active together is to enjoy some friendly competition in the backyard. Play touch football or cornhole. You could walk or drive to nearby courts and play basketball or tennis if the weather cooperates. If you’d rather stay inside, start up a round of Twister, or play an indoor game of hopscotch or ring toss.
Keep it going
To get her kids outside, Baumann limits their screen time. She suggests using parental controls on your smart TV and cable service and on cellphones. Albrecht also finds it helpful to reserve time every day for physical fitness. She schedules fun fitness activities on weekends so her family stays active. Mini getaways can also be a way to be active outside. “We love the outdoors, so we plan vacations and weekend trips where we can hike and fish,” Baumann says. “We also have some catch-and-release ponds in our neighborhood where the boys enjoy fishing on the weekend.” Track how much time your family devotes to fitness and note it on your calendar or on a chart on your refrigerator. If you all work together, you’ll notice that more of your family’s free time has become active time.