At STAT Wellness, it is no secret that we believe that movement is medicine! Have you ever regretted a workout or moving more throughout the day? Probably not. I am guessing that on the days that you move more you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. For me, exercise is an instant mood booster, and I enjoy moving even more when I do it with my family! Movement really does bring us together. A family favorite is to check out new hiking trails here in Atlanta.
Simply put, we need to move more and sit less. Modern day society is making it very easy to do the latter with iPhones, iPads, TV, laptops, and more. I realize that it is impossible to get away from technology completely, but being more mindful of how much screen time you and your family are using is the first step to making a change. According to a recent study, benefits of movement come from just 10 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day like a brisk 10-minute walk which is not very much, but I understand that there are some days where it just feels impossible to fit it in!
These days, families have such limited time together with work, school, and extra-curricular activities. My challenge to you is to try and move when you are all together instead of being on devices. Below are some fun ways you and your family can get moving more AND together!
- Go on a walk. Walking is probably one of the easiest things you can do together as a family. I recommend taking a walk after dinner as a family as it is typically a time that everyone is free. It does not have to be long! 10-20 minutes is great. My mom instilled a love of walking in me at a very early age simply because it is something we did together. We were able to connect without the distractions at home. By the way, she is almost 80, in great health, and always walks at least 10k steps a day!
- Weekend hikes as a family. Like I said, hiking is one of my family’s favorite things to do together. Depending on the abilities and ages in your family, you could choose an easy, moderate, or hard hike in your area. When the pandemic hit, we were certainly shocked to learn about all that Atlanta alone has to offer with regards to trails. I think there is something so special about getting out on a trail away from the sounds of the city. You might walk in silence the whole time or talk the whole time…either way you are doing it together!
- Go to the park. If you are lucky enough to live close to a park, then take a walk there as a family either after dinner or over the weekend. Also, instead of just sitting on a park bench on your phone, play with your family. Chase each other, try the monkey bars, swing, or go down the slide. You just might feel like a kid again!
- Play sports together. It can be very easy for me to go outside with my kids and get on my phone while they are kicking the soccer ball around or playing basketball. Now, I make sure to put my phone aside, and play WITH them! Again, depending on the ages of everyone in your family, you could play soccer, baseball, tennis, pickleball, swim, football, badminton, frisbee, etc.
- Dance party at home. Who doesn’t love a good dance party? Pick a family favorite, and blast it! My kids love it when we let loose and dance with them. You’ve got to admit that dancing instantly makes you feel good!
- Housework. Housework might not be a family favorite, but it needs to get done! Why not do it as a family? If your kids are older, you could make a list of chores that need to get done, and then everyone can sign up for a job. If your kids are younger, simply have them follow along with you. You could even give them a rag and spray bottle with water (so fun), and they could spray and wipe the baseboards. Dusting is another one kids could do! Even if the housework isn’t done perfectly, the family is spending time together, moving, and the kids are learning about ownership.
- Get everyone involved in yardwork. Again, depending on the ages of your kids, they can do anything from mow with a toy mower or actually mow the lawn. In the fall, raking leaves is a great workout and especially fun if you promise the kids they can jump in the big leaf pile at the end so long as they help you put them into bags!
- Everyone go screen-free (even half a day) on Saturday or Sunday. Going screen-free will force you to move more throughout the day. This would be a great time to plan a family walk or hike.
Don’t forget to have a conversation with your family as to why it is important to move more throughout the day. The benefits are endless, but the big ones are it can help reduce stress, increase cognitive function, improve physical performance, and increase self-esteem. These are huge motivators for me and my family!
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to remember to have fun! If the ideas above don’t resonate with your family, then have a talk about what kinds of things you all could do together on a regular basis that involve movement.
If you are looking for more ideas with regards to getting your family moving more or want to make changes when it comes to your family’s habits around health, I would love to work with you! You can schedule an appointment with me here.