Is your autumn schedule changing as quickly as the leaves? Between back-to-school, sports schedules, and a never-ending to-do list, this time of year can get a little hectic. Motivation for regular exercise can fall to the bottom of our priority list in a hurry. However, continuing movement and activity during seasonal transition is necessary for maintaining a consistent habit. Include the whole family and keep your habit going all year long.
Make a List
Write down a list of activities that the entire family can participate in. Make sure your list consists of a variety of types, durations, and indoor/outdoor choices. Include quick options like jumping jacks during a commercial break and prolonged options like a day of hiking in a nearby park. When you get a few moments, refer to the list and pick something that fits into your day. Having a list made ahead of time will help take the guesswork out of choosing, which can be extra beneficial when you’re short on time.
A Little Goes a Long Way
There will be days where your family has more free time than others. On those days, you might have the opportunity to plan more extensive bouts of exercise like a bike ride around town or a backyard obstacle course. However, many days we’re more crunched for time and need to fit in some activity quickly. Creating a culture of exercise with your family doesn’t require hours of free time. A little goes a long way when creating a habit. Think about small ways you can fit activity into each day, no matter how busy. This could include starting the day with five minutes of stretching, a quick walk after dinner, or completing chores before bedtime.
Electronics have a way of sucking us into the couch after a long day. Break the cycle as a family and set times to turn off the screen and unplug. Use these times to do something more active. Even 15 minutes of swapping screen time for exercise can create a lasting habit of daily activity. Not only will this time help you stay active together, but it will also allow for conversation and interaction as a family. Put the screens down, get up, and get moving.
Family exercise doesn’t have to feel like a chore or an obligation. You can even turn daily tasks into fun activities. Play music, dance while cleaning, or turn your yard work into a friendly competition. Think about activities that the family will enjoy, like a pickup game of football in the backyard or going for a walk to spot the leaves changing color. When the family is having fun and enjoying these activities together, it feels like less of a checklist item and something everyone looks forward to.
Be creative with your activities and focus on keeping your family moving. This encourages you to stay on track with regular exercise through changing seasons and schedules. It will also show your family the importance of regular activity and how exercise can be fun.
Always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise program.
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