Fun Family Fitness Activities & Healthy HabitsBy Sarah S – Jenny Craig
Want to lose weight and spend some quality time with your family? Having a family support system centered around staying healthy and active is a great way to keep your family in shape— and it can help foster a strong family bond.
Unfortunately, many parents struggle with meeting work deadlines and managing their busy schedules. This can prevent them from making the time to be active with their children. Just remember — it all starts with you! Modeling healthy exercise behaviors for your children supports a healthy lifestyle today and can make all the difference for your child's diet and exercise patterns down the road. After all, you're their best role model.
You don't all have to start training for a marathon together, either. Just a few simple changes, like taking a walk after a family meal instead of plopping down on the couch, can give the whole family the moderate exercise they need.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offered some helpful hints for the whole family to lead a more active lifestyle:
- Instead of heading to the movies every weekend, try an activity that gets you all moving together, like laser tag, canoeing, hiking, bowling or mini-golf.
- Buy toys for your children that encourage physical fitness, such as kites, hula hoops, Frisbees, balls and jump ropes.
- Plant a garden together. Kids love being outside! Plus — they will be much more likely to eat their veggies if they grew them on their own. This can also allow you to teach your children about agriculture and science — making this a healthy and educational activity.
You and your kids need moderate exercise everyday. Even if you have been slacking on physical fitness, all it takes are eager parents with a positive attitude who are willing to make a few changes to their lifestyle.
No matter where you are in your Jenny Craig weight loss program, you know how important it is to have the support of your family. After all, everything is a bit easier when the people you love are behind you! Want to take their involvement deeper—while building strong bonds AND creating healthy new habits for everyone in the house? Kick off a personal family fitness challenge! You’ve probably seen various challenges in the news and on your Facebook feed, and it’s easy to customize a 30-day program for your own family. Here are a few tips to help you structure your program and get started.
How to Create Healthy Family Fitness Habits
Set a schedule.
Start by finding a time to which ALL members of your family can commit for 30 days. For most families, this will be in the morning before work or school, or in the early evening when everyone gets home. Encourage participating adults to make this “appointment” a priority, and to juggle potential work commitments around it whenever possible. If they can’t, encourage them to exercise on their own at lunch.
Find an activity.
Next, find a few activities that the whole family can enjoy together, regardless of age or fitness level. Since you’ll be doing this every day for a month, it’s good to have a mix of more involved activities you can do on weekends (i.e. family hikes, or taking a yoga class together) and simple activities you can do at home on weekdays (like walking around the block or doing a dance workout together). Not everyone need do the same exact activity; if your little ones have trouble keeping up with (or staying interested in) your walk, have them ride bikes or scooters. It’s important to keep ALL your activities accessible and realistic, so you’ll actually accomplish them every day.
As a Jenny Craig member, you’ve already set a weight loss goal. Now it’s time to set your sights on a fitness accomplishment—then get the whole gang on board. Again, this goal need not be the same for each member of your family. You and your spouse might want to count your steps each day, while your kids might want to attain a certain “level” in a particular fitness-inspired video game. Or you all might just want to commit to simply exercising together every day, regardless of outcome. There are no bad ideas in a fitness challenge!
What’s a challenge without a little incentive? For adults and kids alike, identifying rewards in advance can help sustain motivation throughout the month. Rewards can be individual, like a new outfit for mom or a coveted toy for the kids, or family-minded, like a trip to your local amusement park. Just be sure that you choose something that can keep the whole team interested throughout the challenge.
Fuel your efforts.
Now that you’ve got a fitness plan in place, go the extra mile by creating some simple, healthy meals to enjoy with your family. Planning in advance will not only give your kids special meals to look forward to—it will help streamline your weekly grocery shopping trip, too!
Don't Let The Weather Stop You
When the weather is chilly, it’s easy to feel cooped up inside with the family on the weekend. Rather than sitting on the couch watching movies and snacking on whatever is in the pantry, get the family working out with you. From carving the slopes to climbing a rock wall, here are several ideas to get your activity time in with the whole family involved!
If your city has an outdoor ice rink or an indoor hockey rink, check when the next open skate session is and take the family for some fun on the ice. Admission and skate rental is usually just a few dollars. Moderate ice skating can burn around 460 calories per hour, even if you’re not spinning and practicing double axels. Warm up afterward with hot chocolate for the kids and a steaming cup of tea for yourself.
Hit the slopes for a day in the powder. If your family has never skied before, sign everyone up for a lesson. Not only will it bring your family together as you watch each other try to gracefully get down the bunny hill, but you can burn around 400 calories per hour too. You may just discover one of your kids is the next great champion skier!
It’s not exactly pool weather outside, but you can still put on your bathing suit and head to the indoor pool for some laps and splashing with the family. Pretend it’s summer and bring healthy snacks, like Jenny Craig’s Ranch Snaps and fruit, and your favorite beach towel. Swimming, while a low-impact exercise, is great for the heart! Hopefully there’s a hot tub to warm up in after your workout!
Move the coffee table, crank up the tunes, and get moving! In preparation for a family dance party, allow each family member pick their two favorite songs and create a playlist. Then, turn up the jams and pretty soon you’ll notice everyone sweating, dancing, and, of course, laughing and having fun in your living room. Dancing not only burns calories, but also improves balance, coordination, and can boost your mood.
If your family is feeling adventurous, take them to a rock climbing gym to try their hand at scaling a wall. Many climbing gyms offer family nights on the weekends for beginner level rock climbers with guided climbing available. You won’t have to purchase and bring any special equipment with you, as rock climbing gyms provide the harnesses and ropes you need to climb and belay with your whole family. You’ll be toning your muscles while bonding with your kids!
Is your family in need of a vacation, but, because of time or money, just can’t get away? Take an extra-long weekend and plan a staycation that keeps your family moving and away from the TV. Active getaways are especially important for those on weight loss programs! Whether you choose to spend the day in the mountains or at the zoo, here are five ideas to help you plan an active 3-day family staycation.
Spend the day at a park
Plan to spend an entire day at a local park. Pack a healthy picnic that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, plus your Jenny Craig snacks. Play family-friendly activities like cornhole, volleyball, tag, or get creative and set up a scavenger hunt in the park. Print lists of fun things to find throughout the park and reward the winner with a prize.
Hike local trails
Find local hiking or snowshoeing trails that are easy enough for the family. Whether you drive to the mountains or foothills, your family will enjoy a day exploring nature and getting fresh air. Encourage your kids to look for interesting rocks or insects to keep them occupied, while you enjoy the scenery. Bring trail mix, water and sunscreen to keep your family energized on the trail.
Visit the zoo
Is one of your kids an animal lover? Take the family to the zoo where you can spend the afternoon walking the paths between the many exotic animal exhibits. How many steps can you get in one day? Try to hit 10,000 with the help of a fitness tracker.
Host an indoor field day
If the weather isn’t cooperating, don’t just spend the day watching movies or playing video games. Plan several active indoor challenges and host a family field day. Who can do the most push-ups in 60 seconds? Or, you can create an obstacle course in your living room.