By: Cynthia Skelly, M.D.
“I don’t have time,” “A gym membership is too expensive,” or “I hate lifting weights”: everyone has good intentions to stay fit, but excuses tend to get in the way. Contrary to popular belief, however, there are plenty of fun and effective fitness alternatives to spending time at the gym. In fact, a great way to spend time with your family can be through fitness activities.
To get started, create a family fitness plan that meets everyone’s fitness level. Scheduling a regular time each week for physical activity will make fitness a priority. Each week, a different member of the family can select a fitness activity that involves the entire family, such as rollerblading or a game of basketball. This will make everyone feel involved in the process.
The great outdoors provides many opportunities to get or stay fit. Simple chores such as raking the leaves or pulling weeds serve as excellent physical activities while getting work done. Leisurely activities such as nature hikes or flying a kite can be fun ways to pair fitness with education.
Fun fitness activities can also be found in one’s backyard. Tag, hopscotch and dodge ball involve the entire family. Walking the dog and washing the car might be dreaded activities but can be fun if done with friends and family.
Opportunities abound for increasing physical activity. Simply changing your method for completing everyday tasks can improve your fitness. Here are some tips that you can try at home or at work:
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk instead of driving, or park far from the entrance to get a short walk
- Limit the amount of time spent at the computer or watching television
- Skip using the remote control, change the TV channels manually
- Walk to a coworker’s desk instead of using the intercom
- Devote a portion of your lunch break to physical activity
The key to a successful fitness regime is doing things you enjoy with people you care about. Trying new activities, or some old ones, can be invigorating ways to good health.
Go ahead…find some fun activities that motivate you and your family…to get and stay fit!