4 Ways to Juggle Work, Family, and Exercise
When you have children, of course you want to make sure they grow up to be fit and healthy, and setting a good example is very important. Research has shown that when parents are physically active, it increases the odds that their children will be active as well.
But it can be a challenge to juggle work, family, and exercise. According to research, taking even short exercise breaks during your workday can be beneficial. But what about at home? If you’re looking for ways to stay healthy as a busy family, here are some tips:
1) Turn Chores Into a Game
Family chores are inevitable, so why not make them a fun opportunity to exercise as a family? Instead of assigning chores to each family member, turn doing chores into a game by racing to see how fast you can get the house cleaned, and trying to beat your time next week. Some other ideas:
- Conduct individual races among family members doing separate chores
- Crank up the music while sweeping and vacuuming
- Play I Spy after dinner to get the table cleared and items put away
- Take the dog for a walk as a family
2) Plan Outdoor Activities
Try setting aside one weekend a month to do something active as a family. This might include swimming in the summer, sledding or skiing in the winter, taking a long walk in the spring, or a nature scavenger hunt in the fall.
Visiting your local zoo or science museum provides physical exercise and teaches your children more about the world as a bonus. Bringing along a picnic lunch and some healthy snacks will round out the day and satisfy the hunger that often accompanies physical activity.
3) Take Classes Together
Many fitness clubs and community centers cater to families, so ask whether they offer yoga, swimming, or aerobics classes to parents and children together. If your child is too young to participate, consider classes that will help you burn calories with your baby by incorporating them into yoga moves, pushing them along during stroller workouts, or getting them used to the water with mom and tot swimming lessons.
4) Repurpose Your Family Room
Family rooms can be a center for unhealthy activities in the home: endless hours of watching television and playing video games, mindless snacking on high-calorie, low-nutrition foods, and nothing to encourage fitness or physical activity.
But there are some ways to add fitness into your family room without investing in a huge makeover:
- Set a time limit on television viewing.
- Designate certain shows as “fitness-only,” meaning you and your family will pump weights during commercials.
- Add a get-moving type of video game like Wii Fit to your collection.
According to a study conducted by researchers at the Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K., testers of Wii sports games had higher heart rates while playing and consistently burned more calories than testers using conventional video games.
One more thing: families who eat healthful foods also tend to have other healthy habits. So, if you want to slim down, get your whole family involved and you’ll be more likely to succeed, and they’ll be more likely to enjoy their meals and clean their plates.
Even if you spend long hours at your job, the trick to juggling work, family, and physical activity is to make the most of the time you do have with your family. When you do have a block of time free, try to schedule activities that incorporate moving in the outdoors.
When family obligations like chores demand your time, figure out a way you can incorporate exercise and fun into the routine. And if you do have time to exercise outside the home, try to do it in ways that allow your children to work out, too.
It can be a tough balancing act, but is very much worth it!
Image Copyright: joannsnover / 123RF Stock Photo
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