4 ways to get the family active

There are many well known benefits of exercise. Even so, knowing we should stay fit doesn’t necessarily make it easier to do.

Running gear Most of us sit a lot these days. At computers while in work, desks at school, in cars and buses for commutes or hours in front of Netflix, so making time to fit in exercise is more important than ever.

Along with this, study schedules eat into the day and they are meant to be a priority aren’t they? So getting the family to be active can be difficult.

Encouraging your son or daughter (or any young person) who isn’t keen on the idea of exercise can be a challenge.

Even if they do like sport, making regular exercise a habit is good for both physical and mental health.

1. It’s not all about the burn

To start with we could actually just move more. We sit at computers, desks at school or in cars and buses for commutes, so making time to fit in a 30 minute walk a day with the family is a great way to begin being more active together.

Being more active and getting regular exercise doesn’t have to mean laps of a field or contact sports.

The key for all of you is choose something that you will do, together as a family or individually that is easy and enjoyable. This way will mean that you are more likely to all keep it up.

2. Less is more

Shorter, more frequent periods of exercise has more impact than one exhausting session every now and then.

More regular, manageable exercise builds fitness quicker. Daily, brisk, 30 minute walks mightn’t seem a lot, but will build up your resilience and fitness more than you think.

If you start a habit of walking with your son or daughter, this might open up conversations that would not happen otherwise.

3. Back up support

For many of us, sport and fitness is more fun if we’re doing it with others.

Get your son/daughter to join a group activity or start something with friends. If they feel committed to exercising with others, it’ll be easier to stick to the routine.

4. Set an example

It’ll be much easier to encourage your son or daughter to exercise if they see you being mindful of exercise and fitness. Modelling a healthy, active life by making time for it in your busy schedule will encourage other family members to make it part of their routine.

Growing up in an environment where healthy eating and exercise are a part of the everyday routine, makes it easier for young people to integrate it into their life.

Dry January for all

January can be a tough time. Post Christmas blues can come along with a load of debt and feeling guilt about a time of excess.

Long, dark, cold nights don’t help either.

Empty pint glass held in the sunlightWe have best of intention but still kick-starting healthier lifestyles in the new year is a challenge. After December’s indulgence, many people give up drink for the month.

Balance, not guilt

A glass or two of something can be a way of relaxing after a day at work or ending the day.

It doesn’t mean there’s a problem, but the association between automatically reaching for a drink when tired or stressed is one to watch. These are the kind of behaviours young people can pick up.

Giving up alcohol during January can help to break any habits built up over Christmas. It has been shown to give liver a rest and a number of other health benefits.

In addition it can create more balanced behaviour for the rest of the year.

Modelling habits

Having healthier drinking habits as a parent is also good for your sons or daughters. Attitudes are first developed at home. This means it’s your actions as a parent, not words that count around younger people.

This is true for all behaviour, including things like exercise and eating well.

Do no harm

Abstaining from drink for a while, readdressing it’s use and have a balanced approch to it will have you feeling better overall. That can only be a good thing!

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