Now that the weather is cooling down and the kids are heading back to school, it may be harder to find time to get your daily dose of exercise — especially once the days start getting shorter again. But by encouraging physical activity early on, your kids will embrace fitness as a lifelong habit. Just because your family is a little busier these days doesn’t mean you have to give up a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of our favorite fitness tips that’ll make the seasonal transition more active and more fun.
Hiking is the number one activity to partake in while camping, but you don’t have to set up a tent to do it. If you live an area that boasts beautiful fall foliage, there’s no better way to appreciate it than a family hike. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted that this year will be particularly perfect for leaf-peeping. Research nature trails in nearby towns and plan a weekend day to take a hike and look at the leaves. You can even take a day trip or a long weekend to the East Coast or somewhere in the Midwest to disconnect from technology and take in the vibrant colors the season brings.
Spring and summer may be more associated with bicycle weather, but those golden fall days can be ideal for hopping on your bike. People who participate in outdoor activities spend over $10 billion a year on bicycling gear and accessories, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to embrace cycling. Before the ground freezes, take your bicycles out for a spin around the neighborhood or through town. Just make sure to talk to your kids about safe bicycling practices at length first.
Even if your family isn’t particularly athletic, you can still enjoy everything fall has to offer and get some great exercise. There’s plenty of time to walk around on Halloween night when you take your kids trick-or-treating, but why not take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather all season long, too? Take a walk around the block after dinner or make walking to the park part of your Saturday morning routine. If you have dogs, this can be a great way to keep them active and encourage everyone to participate. To keep things interesting, you can play “I Spy” games or create mini-scavenger hunts along the way. This can also teach your kids about nature at the same time they’re getting their physical activity!
Turn Workouts Into Games
As mentioned above, you can incorporate small games into your physical activities — or you can make physical activities into games themselves. You can use ordinary playing cards to encourage the kids to work out (drawing the eight of spades, for example, might mean everyone needs to do eight crunches). You can turn this into a friendly competition or even use it to pass the time during TV commercials. There are even apps that can help you to throw a dance party right in your own living room. Whether you’re stuck indoors on a rainy day or just want to break up the monotony in the backyard, you can let your kids know that working out doesn’t have to be boring.
Ditch the Gym
This advice may not seem sound on the surface, but this doesn’t mean you should always work out at home. Instead, look for specialized fitness centers that will appeal to the entire family. Roller rinks, skating rinks, recreational centers, climbing wall facilities, and indoor trampoline centers can allow your family to get a ton of exercise without realizing it. They’ll be too busy having fun! These kinds of facilities are popping up all over, so if you have some in your area, take advantage. You can even let the kids bring a friend to double the fun.
It’s not always easy to start a new fitness routine from scratch, especially if your kids are reluctant to get off the couch in the colder months. But by making exercise more accessible and exciting, you can help lay the foundation for lifelong healthy habits. When both you and your children are making better choices, you’ll be able to enjoy your time together and truly appreciate the changing seasons.