Walking is a great family health activity.
If you feel your family isn’t active enough try to add in a walk each day. A great time to do it is after the evening meal. Gather the family, don’t forget to include the grandparents. Stroll around the block or a local path, don’t make it hard, just make it enjoyable. This is a time to talk, the relax, to stretch your legs, to enjoy the sights. Exercise doesn’t have to always be high intensity either. Make a goal to get your family to walk 3-5 times a week.
If your children are young, you may be tempted to just push them in the stroller, but if they can walk get them out and let them walk part of it. When my daughter was young a normal 15-20 minute walk for me could take 45 minutes or more for her to dawdle, explore and partake in the walk. I found if I pushed her in the stroller she slept, and then I didn’t get the down time necessary, but if I moved her then she would sleep on return…bonus!
As the children get older it becomes a time to chat about the days events, about concerns, strengths and challenges. It is hard to get teens out, but if you make it into a regular activity they just might surprise you and engage in it regularly. Try not to put too much pressure on them. If they don’t then it is time for you and your spouse to reconnect and enjoy each others company.
Include family and friends in the walking activity
Bring the grandparents along, or a neighbour. Again adjust the pace and route according to their abilities. Keep it fun and light, don’t start in to politics or issues that are stressful. Take time to watch the wildlife, enjoy nature, watch the sun set, view the clouds, smell the air, and relax.
By establishing routine exercise in the family studies show children more likely to be more physically active in adulthood.
Start your family off with healthy lifestyle sooner rather than later. Your family will likely maintain healthy lifestyles throughout their lives. Be the role model!