These are the biggest and most surprising health benefits of exercising together as a family – the last one will shock you!
Fitness is often viewed as an individual practice. Individuals schedule a private workout session with their personal trainer, go to the gym alone, or attend a fitness center alone. But there can be many benefits to approaching fitness as a family, not just for the parents but for the kids too!
After all, a family that exercises together, stays together. More so we need to stay healthy and happy during these trying times of pandemics.
Family exercise makes training fun and it helps each member to stay motivated and accountable in their fitness goals. So, if you’re not fully convinced yet to work out with your family, take a deep breath and check out below some of the great benefits of family exercise!
8 Big Benefits of Family Exercise
Incorporating even a little bit of physical activity together with your family members’ daily routine benefits your physical health. It strengthens the heart, helps keep the veins and arteries clear, strengthens the lungs, controls weight, strengthens the bones, regulates blood pressure, and reduces blood sugar levels, to name a few.
It especially has lots of health benefits for kids too! It improves their coordination, flexibility, posture, and balance, helps them stay at a healthy weight, reduces their risk of getting heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and cancer later in life, boosts their wellbeing, makes them feel more confident or that they belong, and helps them sleep better.
Exercising with kids doesn’t even mean getting children huffing and puffing a lot with vigorous physical activity. We can choose light or moderate physical activity for them just enough to get them moving.
2. Stronger Bond Between Family Members
When a family exercises together, it makes their bond stronger. Kids are not oppositional and they feel close to their parents. It even helps as they would view their parents more than just working people.
It fosters an environment of communication and teamwork – two of which are necessary to a child’s development. Whether you’re going for a hike, playing in the backyard, or training in your home gym together, you are encouraging the opportunity to work together and converse as a family. This is particularly important in a family with teens because they often do not prefer to have conversations with their parents.
Family members can have different beliefs or views that clash. It’s normal and could happen when a member misunderstands the other and then jumps to the wrong conclusion. This happens to my family too but because we’re used to working as a team, we learn how to compromise and come up with as many solutions as possible.
Working out together as a family helps each member develop strong conflict-resolution skills. Let’s say one member prefers a certain fitness class, but another likes a different form of workout. The combined benefits of being together, working out together, and encouraging each other help each member approach the conflict with an optimistic outlook in life.
Physical activity, whether it’s swimming at the beach, team sports, family exercise, or playground games, has positive effects on the school performance of children and their developing brains.
It helps increase the number of brain neurotransmitters, which assists in the child’s ability to concentrate, focus, remember, learn, and handle stress. Exercise or just any form of physical activity likewise increases the flow of oxygen into the brain. Plus, the number of brain-derived neurotrophins is likewise increased.
Encouraging physical activity and exercising together with family are surefire ways to help them establish lifelong healthy habits. By setting up a time for physical activity or creating a routine for workouts, you are teaching your kids to establish habits that they can carry into their adulthood.
If kids see their parents make family time and physical activity a priority, they are also more likely to follow their parents.
Encouragement (not praise) is important in child care settings. It helps set them up for success. They will grow up to be more focused on their efforts, improvement, and progress. It also inspires self-sufficiency.
And what better opportunity to encourage children than during family time. It affects not just their present mental health, but their future mental health too, according to studies. Positive family encouragement paired with good family bonding builds self-esteem and confidence in children.
Moreover, the participation and involvement of both parents in family exercises gives children a sense of ownership and growth. The opportunity to participate in the same activities as their parents likewise encourage self-confidence in children.
Kids watch what parents do and they are easily influenced by your actions. So, once they see you do something, they are likely to take an interest in it as well.
Exercising as a family can change kids’ perception of physical activity and exercise. To make family workouts more enjoyable at home, I suggest you set up a functional home gym where your kids and your spouse can take turns working out or buy some inexpensive fitness items. You may even invest in a home gym mirror since people naturally gravitate towards the behaviors of those around them.
The full-body view a mirror provides will improve your family’s workout sessions and would make all of you feel more motivated to achieve your fitness goals.
Don’t use exercise as punishment, using scare tactics, or offering food as a reward. Rather than saying “If you want to play too many video games, you’ll get fat,” say something like, “Exercising makes your heart strong.” Once your kids are old enough, communicate to them about what you are doing and know what fitness class they love or what their family fitness goal is.
Studies have linked physical activity and emotional intelligence. One reason is that physical activity does stimulate various brain chemicals that leave a person feeling more relaxed, less anxious, and feel happier.
In essence, family exercise makes not just the kids but even the parents feel happier all around. Through family teamwork, a child’s emotional intelligence and maturity likewise develop. And as you know, self-control is a piece of emotional intelligence that is especially an important predictor of success. Kids who can avoid distractions and inhibit impulses can accomplish their goals and engage in more prosocial behaviors.
There are various ways to enjoy workouts as a family. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Get the whole family to be part of household chores, such as yard work, vacuuming, and cleaning.
- Swim, play tag, toss a ball, hula-hoop, play a dancing video game, or dance to music. Exercising together as a family doesn’t have to be sports, it could be something that just gets the family moving!
- Walk whenever you can instead of driving. If you’ll be going somewhere far and you need to drive, find a parking spot at the far end so you can walk more.
- Train together for a charity run or walk.
- Rotate equipment. Buy a few inexpensive fitness items at home, such as stability balls, resistance bands, hand weights, jump ropes, or dumbbells to be rotated around the house every workout day.
- Celebrate special occasions, such as anniversaries or birthdays, with something active, like a soccer game, volleyball, hike, or playing Frisbee at the park.
- Go for a jog, walk the dog, let kids run around the house or yard for a while, take the stairs, or go on a bike ride using your electric bicycles.
- Go outside more. This is more important since sunlight on the skin leads to the activation and creation of vitamin D, helping you to fight depression, heart attacks, osteoporosis, and cancer. Sunlight will also help elevate your mood.
- Plan for a variety. This means choosing a different family member who plans for the family fitness activity, whether it’s a nature hike, a basketball challenge, rollerblading, or a Frisbee game of their choice. Check out this yoga directory if you’re looking for online yoga classes.
- Listen to music together. Choose music at home that will make you feel good. Not only music is an uplifting motivator but it is also good for the health of your blood vessels and your heart.
- Learn about nutrition together as well. This can result in smarter food choices. It’s best if you can also plan so you won’t eat meals in a rush, which often ends up as a non-healthy option.