10 Active Tips
By: Kelly Bonner
If you are like the rest of us, you know you need to get more activity in your life, and truth be told, so do your kids. If only you could pry them away from their screens. If a member of your family has a disability, that task can be even more daunting because now you have to add accessibility into the mix. Nevertheless, we have come up with 10 ways to help you and your family get active together. Who knows, you may even find something your kids love.
1. Think inside the box. A CrossFit box that is. You probably know someone who has joined the craze and wondered for yourself what it is all about. Most CrossFit gyms called a box consist of designed high intensity workouts of the day that can be scaled to meet you where you are at. Many have programs for kids as well, and they are surprisingly inclusive. A few notes of caution: Make sure the box you visit is a registered CrossFit gym and that the trainers are certified instructors. As always, with any type of exercise, make sure your doctor has cleared you to exercise.
2. If high-intensity weight lifting isn’t your thing, have your family sign up for a race. There are more 5K’s, 10K’s, or if you get a real wild hair – half or full marathons than you could count. And many are raising awareness or money for some really great causes. Find one that your whole family supports. Not only will it be a cause you feel good about but you will have also built in accountability to stick to the training plan from those living under the same roof. Be sure to check ahead, but often accessibility isn’t an issue when races are held on public streets.
3. Need something with a little less commitment and a little lower key? Check out your local or state park. Both are covered under the ADA and may offer some fun inclusive activities for the whole family. Discover a new hiking trail, play a round of Frisbee golf, or get a quick workout in while your kids play on the playground. Anywhere you look, parks offer endless opportunities for fun and activity.
4. Instead of purchasing the next video game or downloading another movie, pick out an active toy so that the next time the family sits down to veg out after dinner, you can challenge them to a game instead. Maybe it’s a quick game of basketball, throwing a football around the yard, or the next Pokémon Go craze. Find something your whole family can participate in and do it.
5. Find water. It may be a pool, a lake, or even just a sprinkler in the back yard, but usually when there’s water around, there is active fun to be had. You could ski or swim, play games like Marco Polo, or just tread water in the deep end. Sprinting through a sprinkler causes endless delight for the younger family members, and mom and dad usually reap the benefits of all those sprints.
6. The next activity requires you to ask yourself one simple question, “Can we walk it?” Do the kids want ice cream from the local creamery? – Can you walk there? Need to pick up just a few things from the grocery store? – Can you walk there? Maybe your neighborhood isn’t very accessible or safe to walk; however, shopping centers often are. Can you park at one end and walk to all the shops instead of getting back in your car to head to the next one? The time spent walking can be great physical activity boost in your day.
7. Find an activity class you all can take together as a family. Perhaps you try out yoga together or you want to show your kids you still got moves in a Zumba class. Whatever the activity is, see if you can do it together. Many community centers, local YMCAs, and parks offer family classes that can oftentimes also be free. If the class isn’t accessible, talk to the instructor. He or she may welcome the opportunity to learn, and you could suggest options to make it more inclusive.
8. Go on a scavenger hunt. It can be as small as your back yard or as large as your neighborhood or city. Regardless of age, everyone enjoys a well-designed scavenger hunt. Whether you have to identify leaves, colors, or distinct locations the challenges can be modified for all ages and abilities.
9. Enjoy a family night out, but instead of going to the movies or a nice restaurant, opt for something active. Try your skills at miniature golf or the local bowling alley. Maybe you can go a more adventurous route and try some indoor rock climbing or take dance lessons. Get creative or ask your family what they would like to do.
10. Take turns. Let each member of your family select an activity. Eventually, you might find something that you all love, but be sure to let everyone have their say and try out new things – even if that activity is way outside the comfort zone of other family members.
Regardless of the activity or activities that you choose for your family, you will all be better off for the decisions you make to fit fitness into your family’s lives.