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28 November 2017

Fit family goals – and how to get them

You could be your family’s very own personal trainer with enough motivation and determination.

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It can be a challenge getting your family off the couch and away from their smart devices to exercise and stay healthy. And it definitely won’t help when you are barking orders and exercise routines at them.

It can also be quite daunting to create an entire fitness routine for your family and have them stick to it. So why not incorporate exercise into your everyday life without qualifying for a diploma in military leadership?

Here are five easy – and fun – ways to get your family off the couch and fit family exercise time into your all-too-busy schedules.

Start early

Starting off early can mean two things – doing light exercises in the morning when you feel energised and not drained at the end of a long day, and getting your kids off the couch and fit at a young age to build a routine and something they enjoy.

But if you are not a morning person and the thought of getting out of bed sends shockwaves through your body, you can opt for exercising later in the day.

A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research shows that strength and flexibility are at its optimum in the late afternoon and the perception of how hard your body is actually working is at its lowest.

Children also have a great imagination at younger ages and you can use this to your advantage. You could ask them to create fun games – the sky is the limit! And because they have to create the game and design the rules, they are more likely to get up and play – provided that at the end of the day they are doing some form of exercise, even if it is just running around in the backyard.

Ditch the car ride for walks

Walking is an underrated form of exercise. Whether you are going to pick your child up from school, visiting a friend, or taking your dog for a walk, having a goal in mind and building a routine ensures that you won’t put it off for ‘another time’.

You can also plan a weekly family walk in the evenings when the sun is not blazing and when everyone has returned home from work and school. This is a great time to bond with your family, catch up on the week’s happenings, forget about chores and stress for a while and have fun.

A study has shown that walking does not only improve your cardiovascular fitness but it also significantly increases blood flow to the brain. So why not walk your way to a better physical and mental health.

Turn up the music and dance

Dancing is a full-body workout and it could be quite fun at the end of the day. Freestyle dancing and dancing for fun makes your heart pump blood faster throughout your body, increasing your breathing rate, as well as working your muscles.

There is no specific style or form of dance to get fit, just as long as your body is moving and you are energised throughout the activity.

Music offers stimulation and encouragement to keep moving. You could have a family dance evening in the lounge or TV room or kitchen while preparing a meal – there are plenty of options.

Create friendly competition

There is not much that gets people motivated than some friendly family competition and, of course, a reward at the end of the competition. Who will reign victorious?

The best way to get the entire family involved is to ask each family member to come up with a specific exercise to do and challenge the rest of the family to do it. At the end of the competition each family member should have (or attempted to) complete each challenge and you can decide on the prize for the winner – such as picking the next challenge or sitting out of one of the challenges next time.

The best part is that you are in the comfort of your own home and do not need to worry about embarrassing yourself or being shy in the gym because Mom can’t do 10 push-ups…

But don’t despair, your fitness levels will improve with time.

Get equipment

If you are sure that your family will stick to an exercise routine and you won’t be wasting money, invest in some exercise equipment you can use at home.

These could include: fabric-covered dumbbells, jumping rope, elastic bands or tubing, a punching bag, medicine balls, an exercise mat, and a minimalist treadmill (to name a few).

Gym memberships can also put a dent in your wallet and it is generally overcrowded. Not to mention that exercising is a commitment but if you are motivated to work out, but not motivated enough to sign up for a gym membership, investing in equipment is your best option.


This article is provided through a sponsorship from Pfizer in the interests of continuous medical education. Notwithstanding Pfizer's sponsorship of this publication, neither Pfizer nor its subsidiary or affiliated companies shall be liable for any damages, claims, liabilities, costs or obligations arising from the misuse of the information provided in this publication. Readers are advised to consult their health care practitioner for specific information on personal health matters as this is not the intention or purpose of the publication. Specific medical advice or recommendations on the clinical management of patients will not be provided by Pfizer. In this regard Pfizer does not support the use of products for off label indications, nor dosing which falls outside the approved label recommendations and readers must refer to the Package Insert of any product for full prescribing guidelines.

 

 
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