If you have a family that you’re trying to juggle alongside work responsibilities, time for yourself and weight loss goals, the perfect solution may be making family exercise a part of your overall weight loss and fitness plan. Not only will it be teaching great health habits to your kids, but you’ll also have a bonding experience that’s active and fun, all while helping you stay on track with your weight loss efforts.
When it comes to a new exercise schedule or regimen, many kids may be hesitant to try it. More time with mom sounds good to almost any kid, but if it feels like a chore, kids will treat it as one. Instead, set the tone from the start. Avoid using terms like workout or exercise. Instead, let your kids know that you’ve come up with a fun idea.
Setting the Goals with Family Exercise
While you are writing out your fitness goals each week, set three definite time slots when you will work out with your family when you’re also going to be taking care of the kids. Whether you’re a single parent or going to bring your spouse along for the fitness ride (or just give him some alone time while you exercise with the kids), this is a great opportunity to show up for yourself, holding yourself accountable for your plans, even when nobody else does. The choice of whether to let your kids in on the specific workout plans of the week is up to you. It should depend on how your child reacts to working out. Some kids will look forward all week to a nature hike with mom, while others dread the idea of leaving the video game systems behind. Do what works best for you and creates less stress within your family. Whatever you do, don’t compromise the clear goals you set with family exercise.
Make a Retro Play Date
There are old programs from the ’80s, when the fitness craze rocked the country as Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” was the hit of the nation, that combine play and exercise for kids. You may try playing a couple of those old programs once or twice a week. Shows like “Mousercise” and “Just You and Me, Kid” helped kids move and work out, while bonding with parents. Maybe make it a Friday morning routine. Talk to your kids about healthy habits on those days, too, as the shows usually give you a great opening opportunity to do so with the topics they bring up.
Throw an In-Home Dance Party
One way to motivate yourself and your children is to throw a dance party in your own living room. Put on a playlist that appeals to everybody, choosing upbeat songs that everyone knows. Sing along while you dance. You may even opt to throw fun little karaoke contests along with the dancing. Games like the new “Grease” game for the Nintendo Wii will even offer an organized version of this dance party, if you have a hard time separating the workout from the modern technology.
Make a journal of your weight loss goals, making sure to take pictures of you and your kids as you enjoy family exercise. In addition to having precious mementos from this time in your kids’ lives, you’ll also see a visual chronicle of your weight loss progress.