Exercising As a Family: Building Healthy Habits

One of our biggest responsibilities as parents is to set a good example for our children. Children are like sponges. From an early age, they are incredibly impressionable and often take the example we set with them into adulthood. In fact, one recent study conducted by researchers at Brown University found that children often carry the routines and habits they develop before the age of nine well into adulthood. One way we can set a good example for our children is to engage in physical activity with them.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 17 require at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity daily. Physical activity is incredibly beneficial for a child’s development. Exercise enhances mental health, strengthens bones, promotes better sleep, boosts the respiratory system, and improves cardiovascular fitness. It also can relieve stress, reduce the risk of depression, and build confidence and self-esteem.

Joining your children when they exercise or even play is important for instilling healthy habits. Not only does it set a good example for your children, but also contributes to your overall health as well. Adults require exercise just like children and often the benefits for adults are the same as those for our kids.

How can I get started?

Find what works for your family, something convenient and repeatable, and add it to your routine. When physical activity becomes a habit, it’s much easier to sustain. Find creative ways to add exercise to your schedule. Some ways to add activity include:

  • Use your home. Ask your kids to find six red things around the house or find fun ways to have your children chip in with chores.
  • Get outside. Find moderate hiking trails, hit the pool, or take a walk around your neighborhood. Try planting a garden and teaching your children how to grow some of their own food (this could also encourage healthy eating habits).
  • Don’t let the rain stop you. If it’s raining, maybe grab a deck of cards and assign an activity to each card you can pull. An ace could mean five pushups, a jack could mean five jumping jacks. Even better, make the rain part of the play. Grab some rain boots and jackets and embrace your inner puddle duck!
  • Involve your pets. Oftentimes, keeping up with our kids’ boundless energy can be quite a task. Enlist the help of your furry friends to run off some of that energy. Take your animals on walks and bring them to the park as a family.
  • Choose what you like. If your children aren’t interested in sports, pull up a dance video from YouTube or try a scavenger hunt for things at your local park. By incorporating exercise into your everyday life, exercise becomes just another part of you and your children’s routine.

“Start with what’s comfortable and what’s fun for all,” said Certified Personal Trainer, Toni Johnson of TPMG Strive Fitness and Sports Performance. Whether that means walks in the evenings before bed or throwing a ball around at the park.

Why does this matter?

As anyone trying to build healthy habits will tell you, it’s incredibly difficult to make or break a habit once they are introduced into your routine. Give your kid a head start by adding exercise opportunities to their life early on. Exercising as a family will also improve your family’s social health. When you spend time together, you’ll have more opportunities to share what’s on your mind, to address any concerns that may be bothering you, and share the things that you’ve achieved.

Need help getting started? Talk a certified personal trainer with TPMG Strive Fitness and Sports Performance today.

Toni Johnson, Certified Personal Fitness Trainer at TPMG Strive in Williamsburg, VA

About Toni Johnson, CPT

Toni Johnson, CPT is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) and an Adaptive Fitness Specialist. With a background in law enforcement, Toni earned her Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. Toni’s professional journey began in the Department of Corrections, where she served as an officer in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Virginia. In 2018, she decided to shift gears and pursue a career in healthcare. Toni served as a pharmacy technician before earning a NASM certification. 

With a person-centered, holistic approach to personal training, Toni believes in the ability of everybody and every body. She enjoys helping people find their abilities and strengths through education and specialized programming, including mobility, balance training, and functional movement. Toni works at Strive Fitness and Sports Performance in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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