WASHINGTON — An active family is a healthy family, so the next time your kids are looking to get out a little extra energy, let them do just that. In fact, join them.
Whether it’s walking, running or playing tag in the backyard, squeezing in some physical activity as a family has a host of benefits. Chickaro Martin, also known as “the health architect” at knowyourfitnessdc.com, shares some ways to get everyone moving.
Make it a priority
As with most things, parents are the role models for their children’s patterns and behaviors. That is why Martin says it’s paramount for parents to make physical activity a priority.
“You, the parent, [need to] take that initiative and set the tone and be the leader,” Martin said.
If your kids see you staying active on a daily basis, they will likely follow suit and establish healthy habits that will last them a lifetime.
Don’t have an hour to work out? How about 5 minutes?
Many adults find it difficult to make it to the gym after work, let alone organize exercise for the entire family. However, Martin says you don’t need to block off an hour to work out — all you need is five minutes.
Martin likes to do spontaneous challenges, where in the middle of a family movie or before a trip to the mall, he has everyone pause and do a series of push-ups, jumping jacks or wall-sits for five minutes. If it’s nice outside, throw in a few laps around the yard, but don’t let the activity go past five minutes.
“Make it simple, clear and fun,” he said, adding that it can even be turned into a competition among siblings. “Make sure you’re creative about what you do.”
Use the kids
If you have an infant or toddler, use them in your workout to add some extra resistance and/or weight. You can do lifts/swings with babies, even situps. They’ll find it fun and you’ll find it will burn some extra calories.
Often, kids are moving their bodies even if they don’t realize it, simply by playing tag or kicking the soccer ball in the backyard. The next time they’re out there running around, join them for a few minutes. It will get them excited about the game and you’ll be able to work up a sweat.
Family hikes and runs are also great activities, and for older youth, organized sports develop confidence and motor skills.
Martin hosts free family workouts in D.C.’s Meridian Hill Park. Find more information on his website and sign your family up for the next weekend workout.
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