Summer’s here and that should mean more time with the family. But with a busy work schedule, you’ll be lucky if you can make the time for a “staycation,” let alone a real vacation. Staying physically fit is often just another thing you need to squeeze into an already crammed schedule, and come summertime, it’s easy to put workouts onthe back burner.
You deserve to have a fantastic family summer and a fantastic summer body, too. So why not roll your workouts into activities for the whole family? By combining fun, fitness and family you can still prioritize family and stay actively engaged in your workout, too. And by introducing kids to a healthy lifestyle early, you will encourage them to appreciate fitness and continue to keep it an important part of their own lives. So, the next time you drive the kids to soccer practice consider grabbing your own athletic equipment and get in the game too.
Join In the Fun: Being a part of kids’ activities can be a great way to share in their enjoyment and playtime. Taking adult ballet classes alongside your child, coaching the soccer game or jumping into the next basketball pick up game in the driveway are all simple ways for you to get active and get together.
“Going to a park, finding a great walking trail, swimming, bowling and mini-golf are great activities for the entire family that everyone enjoys and can participate in,” explains Health and Wellness coach, Charlene Cahen.
Even before the school breaks for summer, you can volunteer to help out with education sponsored programs and still get your heart pumping.
“Try and get the kids active in afterschool activities,” Charlene says, especially ones that you can get involved in too. Participating in school fitness programs like bike-a-thons, Presidential Active Lifestyle Award training challenges and 10k fund raising walks are not just activities that you can do as a team, but will also instill in your children the value of a healthy lifestyle and the importance of giving back to the community.
Create A Routine: Carve out a regular weekly time together to participate in a fitness activity as a family.
“Kids usually emulate what they see their parents doing,” explains Charlene. “If they see you establish a workout routine, they will join in or find one they enjoy alongside you.”
When the entire family is part of the activity, each member will hold the other accountable for participating in fitness. Just like a gym buddy, kids will help you own your commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle. Charlene recommends making family fitness part of the weekly (and daily) schedule.
“A routine becomes a habit and establishing good habits at such a young age will most likely stick.”
Get Everyone Involved: Make a list of sports and active games that everyone likes or is interested in trying. Experimenting and learning together can be just the motivation to get off the couch and out of your comfort zone. Soccer, karate, horseback riding, canoeing, snowboarding, swimming, running and bike riding are just a few great activities that all ages can participate in together. Climbing classes, mommy and baby yoga programs, neighborhood kickball tournaments and taking the dog for a daily walk or run are also opportunities for healthy bonding time. Why not turn a family vacation into something that revolves around fitness? White water rafting, dude ranching, mountain biking and even yoga retreats exist for all ages and lifestyles and are often located in exciting and beautiful destinations.
Hit The Backyard: Fresh air is good for all, especially when it’s in season. Charlene recommends also including backyard activities so there are no excuses after a long day at the office. “It’s great to get them outside, kick a ball, ride a bike, walk around your neighborhood.” She also suggests bike riding, swimming, slides, jungle gyms, swing sets, walking the dog, kicking a ball and other backyard activities that not only get the heart pumping but build the bonding.
Rather than sitting at home all day playing video games, on their phones or just couch surfing, it’s important to teach them to prioritize fitness. “We need to set an example for our kids that working out, enjoying a sport and just getting outside are very beneficial to their health,” says Charlene.
“We want them to grow, thrive and achieve all the goals they set out to accomplish. And just like us, live their very best life.”
Make It A Priority: Adults lead children through the examples we set, and adopting a healthy and active lifestyle is an excellent lesson to pass down to youth. Getting children involved early in activities, eating a balanced diet, coupled with talking about how this behavior benefits their health will not only instill the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, but will ultimately affect the choices they make throughout life. Temptations of junk food, alcohol and smoking can often be controlled once they understand the negative physical impact these activities will have on their bodies and longevity of life. Provide role models that children look up to such as professional athletes, celebrities, military personnel and professionals in the health industry or other career fields who live healthy lifestyles and whose success depends on adhering to a fitness regime. Share some of your own role models and most importantly, as a busy career professional prioritizing family and fitness, you will be a role model as well.
“Kids are sedentary these days and they need to be active and have fun,” says Charlene. By demonstrating just how much emphasis you place on living a vibrant, healthy life you will take steps to ensure that you can share the fun together as a family for a long time to come.
“It’s important for families to spend time together and it’s important to stay healthy and get your body moving.”
Kim Monaghan, PCC, RYT, CPBS is the owner of KBM Coaching & Consulting LLC, a boutique Human Resources Consulting and Career Coaching Firm serving a national clientele.