With all the treats available to our family it’s challenging to maintain everyone in the healthy category when it comes to what they are consuming and how much they move their body. Even if you have a handle on food consumption do you know that everyone is getting the recommended amount of water or recommended time of physical activity to maintain their health? Scientists have shown that being physically active decreases the chance of so many diseases, it’s remarkable.
Yet, even with all the evidence showing how beneficial being physically active is for everyone, most families aren’t able to make the time for being physically active. Even if you find the time, who’s motivated after a full day and dinner to really move, knowing there are still chores to do?
Well, here are some ideas to give you the time to make sure your entire family is getting about an hour of physical activity 3-5 days a week.
First, let’s get into a mindset that sets you up for success.
Do you come home from work stressed about cleaning your home? Do you find the thought of your at home to do list overwhelming after a full day of work? This is not as high of a priority as we all make it. Ask yourself this, is your home being tidy more important than your health or your family’s health?
No, it is not. Obviously no one should be living in a dump with trash all around them, but untidy or lived in, that’s what a home is for.
A home is meant to be lived in, and if an untidy or lived in home is the consequence we have to pay to be healthy, then I say we got ourselves a first world problem. Seriously, if one of our biggest problems is choosing between our health and an untidy home we are blessed. First of all, we have enough stuff to make a mess and secondly we have the choice to choose over cleaning or caring for our family’s and our personal health. I could go on, but I have a feeling this is becoming a rant, I’m sure you get the point.
Back to the mindset we all try to have. If you close your eyes and clear your mind of all your worries and to do lists, I hope that you find a peacefulness that brings a smile to your face. If you are able to and it is a safe for where you are and what you are doing, go ahead and give it a try. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and smile. In that moment of peacefulness you will find a smidge of joy and dash of happiness.
Now that you are in a happy place, hold on to that happiness and approach your health hand in hand with happiness. Have a positive can do attitude to set your health goals, and stick to them. By having a positive attitude when you make healthy choices your brain will associate healthy choices with positivity and happiness. If you can make a cellular association in your brain between happiness and healthy choices you will be twice as more likely to continue making healthy choices again and again.
Now that we have a mindset that sets you up for success let’s work through some of the other challenges that prevent us from having the time to be healthy.
One of the most common challenges that family’s struggle to balance are chores around the house. They are important, and a challenge on their own to keep up with. You can make changes to how you do and think about the chores in your home to make time for being physically active.
A) Ask your family for help with the chores. When it comes to your children I don’t really mean ask, I mean expect it from them. Some fear that by having children help with some chores it will take away from their time to be kids or that it is not their responsibility. The fact of the situation is that if it is a mess in your home it is a family mess and there is no reason why you personally have to be responsible for it. The kids can and should help to learn that it takes more than their small chore list to keep a home functioning.
You can also use chore charts, who doesn’t love giving rewards. Set up a chore chart so your kids are doing a chore or two in the morning when they are awake at that ungodly hour that children wake up at. Then, if their homework is done long before you get home from work then the kid(s) can also manage a small chore or two every afternoon/evening, if nothing else children should be picking up after themselves in the evening. At the end you get a workout in with the kid(s) when you get home, and if the kid(s) gets their chores done as expected you get to give rewards!
B) Hire help! I have not done this due to budget reasons, but if you have the room in your budget then hiring help once a week, or once every other week, or even once a month can be a huge help. Imagine, someone else dealing with the pile of dishes in your sink, scrubbing your bathroom, sweeping and cleaning your floors. You could workout while your home is being cleaned or come home from work to a clean home. There’s nothing like walking into a home after a long day of work to look around and realize there isn’t anything you feel like you have to take care of right at that moment. It’s a feeling of absolute relief and freedom. I hope this is part of your life someday, the option of having someone to help clean so you can spend more time doing the things that are top priority to you and your family.
C) Let it go, if you have to choose between chores around your home and your health, choose your health. If anyone says anything to you about it, just respond with I have been prioritizing my health these days, and leave it at that.
It can be hard to find the motivation to workout, and sometimes it is a little easier if you have another person saying “Let’s go”. This can be a neighbor, a friend, a significant other, or even your children. Below is my experience, but I expect everyone’s will be different.
A) I have a friend that I worked out with here and there, but our schedules just do not match up enough for regular workouts. I was stressed about my health and my family’s health at the time. So, I went to my husband and explained all my health concerns that were motivating me to want to workout. I kept this conversation focused on me, and explained how hard I was finding it to find a friend to workout with. Then I told him that I needed his help. I specified that I need him to motivate me to workout at least every two days by prompting me with statements like let’s go for a walk. Not only did I need him to motivate me, but I needed him to go with me to keep me motivated. At the end, I know my husband can’t turn me down when I need him. So, I have a workout partner 😉
This made a huge difference in my workout routine, by making it more regular. It also achieved something that I had only dreamt of (making sure my family was healthy), without even having to ask for it. I just had to tell my husband what I needed. Then we told our child they had to come with us, and all three of us were working out regularly.
B) Bring your child on your workouts (walks/jogs/runs). Once your child gets into the groove of family walks, they look forward to them and will be motivating you to go on a family walk as well as disappointed when you do not take a family walk. I was worried about our child keeping up with us. At first our child was miserable for the first 20 minutes of every walk/jog that we went on. After a week or two of regular family walks, my child started to be pleasant for the entirety of the experience, and then they were actually excited to go. We have ours bring their scooter, it makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone 😉 Overtime, our child left their scooter at home and has no trouble keeping up with us.
TIME TO WORKOUT
A) Dinner Time. If your family is used to family dinners take this time and replace it with family workouts. The kids and adults can eat at different times, and it does not have to be a thing every night. I know family dinners are a sensitive topic for some so please do not stop here. Understand that family time is sacred to me and I would not be suggesting this if I felt that family time would be lost. Family dinners are meant to give everyone a chance to catch up, and instill in children that family time is important. Family workouts with kids can do the same and more, they teach your children that physical care is important too. Below I describe how family workouts give us both family time and teaches our children important concepts about caring for our bodies.
Family dinners are meant to take the time to hear about everyone’s day. With a family walk or jog or family time moving your body you still get the time with your entire family. Moving has never stopped kids from chatting, even when jogging. As a matter of fact the walking does not stop myself or my husband from chatting either. So we still get to hear about each other’s day.
We are also still making time for family, instilling the importance of family time in our child. Simultaneously we are also teaching our child about the importance of their health, and showing children what it takes to stay healthy. Healthy is hard work and the sooner we and our families associate that hard work with something positive like family time, the easier it will be. Of course, we should still eat dinner, it will just be staggered and usually on the go or late. Either way though we still get dinner, and everyone is healthier and happier for how we are going about it.
B) Another fun family workout plan with kids can be playing. If your kids are playing, play with them. Whether it is kicking a ball around outside, playing catch, or even video games. Yup, that’s right video games can be a family workout. Tell your kids you want a turn to play with them and you get to choose the game. Then choose a game like Just Dance, you will be burning calories and building muscle in places you didn’t even know you had muscles, lol.
Those are the tips I have to share with you, I hope you are able to use some to help yourself and your family stay healthy. There is no right or wrong way to start and keep the motivation going for self or family workouts. I suppose the secret is to keep trying and don’t let challenges stop yours or your family’s workout. When challenges arise remember to prioritize your family workout plan with kids and be ready to switch up the workout plan as needed.