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Step Up Family Fitness

PostedSeptember 26, 2017

The warm weather is here to stay! Are you ready to burst outdoors and into glorious sunshine to stretch your formerly home-bound legs?

Did you know that 10 000 steps per day is the figure for feeling good and staying healthy? But, when it comes to children, some sources cite figures as high as 12 000 to 16 000 steps per day for boys, and 10 000 to 13 000 for girls! Truth is, with so many sedentary distractions – kids just don’t get the activity they need. So, if you’re breaking out in a sweat right now just thinking about how you’ll get your family moving; relax, it’s easier than you think.

Thing is, we are primed by nature to try and succeed at new physical activities in the spring. As the hours of daylight lengthen, our retinas react and trigger hormonal changes in the brain that affect our sleep and mood. So, as our bodies produce less melatonin, we typically sleep less, crave fewer carbs, and have more energy. In short, there’s no better time than right now for the entire family to ease into new fitness routines and outdoor adventures!

Here are some ideas on how to give your family a jump-start on fitness this spring:

  • Include activity bursts in-between your family’s to-do list. Have 20 minutes before the chicken is done? Crank up the music and boogie down. Show the kids your dance moves, they’ll love this one!
  • Go for pre- or post-dinner walks. Monster-size your walks. Add lunges or large walking steps between intervals. Maybe 30 seconds of easy walk and then 30 seconds of monster-size steps. This will significantly bump up the calorie burn of your walk. Also, add hop, skip and jump to your walking routine. This will increase the intensity of your workout and build strength. Fun, fun, fun!
  • Train for a 5k together. Walking or running a 5k is a very doable and fun challenge. Kids around age 7 and up can run or walk. Also, spring is “high season” for local charity events that encourage a joy for walking. Find a walk-a-thon for a good cause and remind your family why being active can be one of the greatest gifts to give to yourself and to others.
  • Walk and climb, don’t ride. Leave the car at the furthest parking bay on trips to the library or grocery store. Skip elevators and escalators and take the stairs.
  • Fly a kite. This will keep you in constant motion for hours.
  • Have a little sidewalk chalk fun. Hopscotch is a classic. Also, draw a four-square court and play with a large rubber ball.
  • Do a hill-race. Find a steep hill nearby, climb up and race down.
  • Hit the trails. There is no shortage of hiking trails in our beautiful country. Many of them have a real wilderness feel, despite being close to the city; Hennops trail, Uitkyk trail or Suikerbosrand trail, to name but a few. Whether it’s a casual jaunt near your home or a more extreme hike in the mountains, climbing on stumps and balancing on fallen trees are so fun.
  • Dance in the rain. It will come, very soon we hope! Have your rain gear ready, surprise your kids and get some exercise too!

Now that spring is here, get moving and have some fun! Try to make fitness a part of your family’s life in some way, most days of the week.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.