One of the best things you can do to ensure that your child develops a lifelong love of exercise and physical activity is to do some fitness activities together. If your child sees you participating in sports or working out, they will understand that these are important "things" to do, and will be more likely to stay fit and healthy. Get moving, and stay fit together with these fresh ideas:
- Take a family bike ride. Riders under the age of 5 can sit in a bike trailer or seat. If your littlest cyclists really want to pedal along, try doing one lap of the block slowly first, letting your youngest pedal their own bike at their own pace, then return home and load them into whatever ride along device you have. You can get in your own workout, without having to keep pace with his or her little legs.
- Play a game. No matter how big or large your family is, consider playing a game like hide and seek. Played indoors, this game has a pretty level playing field, especially if you team up the littlest children with Mom or Dad. This can be great fun outdoors as well, just make sure you lay out clear boundaries ahead of time.
- Take a nature walk. Let each child bring a bucket or basket, and take a walk through the woods or at a park. Let them pick up leaves, rocks, and other specimens, and then look through them when you are done, and talk about what they found. Toddlers and babies will enjoy this type of walk as well—but use a baby backpack or jogging stroller to keep them happy while you hike.
- Play on a playground. Kids know how to play, but most grownups have forgotten what a great workout playground time can be. Climbing, swinging, running, and crawling through and around playground equipment is a great workout!
- Participate in their sport. If your kids play soccer, volunteer to help with coaching, and jog along as they ply. If you are on the sidelines, you can support the team by bringing snacks, following the game, and cheering one both teams. Just knowing that you are there, that you value the activity, and that you are interested will keep your kids motivated to play.
- Take lessons together. Consider taking a lesson of some type together, particularly something that you don't normally do. Try surfing, horseback riding, inline skating, or some other activity with your child, and learn something new together.
Doing fun activities as a family keeps everyone fit and motivated; and gives you something fun and memorable to do together.