8 Tips to Help Maintain Exercise As Your Family Heads Back to School

Exercising with your familyMove over summer…it’s back to school again.

Getting back to the daily grind of homework, schedules and less free time for all can be an adjustment for all. Staying active and exercising can be even more challenging. We’ve created some tips for you and your family to stay active and healthy all year round.

  1. Play sports together: Whether your kids play soccer, basketball or volleyball, find opportunities to play as a family. Your child can teach you various techniques and skills they’ve learned, which will help boost their confidence while everyone gets a chance to be more active. You don’t have to be good – just involved and moving.
  2. Park and walk: Every step counts towards your daily activity so finding ways to walk more can lead to better health benefits, promote weight loss and help alleviate stress. Find a parking spot at the end of a parking lot or avoid the school parking lot during drop off. Track your steps and calorie burn using Fitbit Ultra Activity Monitor.
  3. Workout around drop off: Parents spend a lot of time driving their kids around town. From school to after-school activities and play dates, there are plenty of opportunities to be active while you wait. Plan a run or ride while your kids attend gymnastics or baseball practice even if it’s for a short period. Breaking up your exercise throughout the day in 15- to 20-minute increments offers the same health and fitness benefits as hour-long workouts. Use Fitdigits to track your heart rate can calories on your smartphone.
  4. Plan active family time: After a busy week of work and school, it seems easier to plop the kids in front of the TV while you attend to household chores. But this isn’t really great family-bonding time nor does it help your children establish healthy habits. Carve out a few hours every weekend for active family time. From biking to hiking, swimming or even walking around the zoo, there are so many opportunities to have family fun while being active. If your family feels up for a challenge, sign up for a family 5K and practice running and walking together before the race. Track all your races with Fitdigits and review your progress as a family.
  5. Turn exercise gear into toys: Look for types of exercise equipment that are fun to use and your kids will enjoy using them. Your local sports store offers tons of gear that double as toys like jump ropes, hula hoops, platform stilts, lemon twists and tumble mats. Tip: turn your backyard or living room into an obstacle course using this equipment and see who can get through it faster! Bonus tip: find the used sporting goods store in your area and save $$$.
  6. Go virtual: Modern video games aren’t for couch potatoes. Today’s virtual gaming systems incorporate physical movement and are a great way to entice kids to stay active. Gaming consoles like Nintendo Wii, Playstation Move and Xbox 360 Kinect all offer games that get users moving. If your kids insist on playing games when they get home from school, trade off by making them active games. From dancing to boxing or playing ball, you and your kids will be burning calories while having fun.
  7. Beat bad weather: Most of us don’t have the pleasure of living in a climate that offers 365 days of sunshine. From heat waves to freezing temperatures in winter, staying active can be a challenge. Plan one day a week after school to visit a museum, go window shopping at the mall or visit your local roller or ice-skating rink. Start a calendar to keep you on track, and give everyone a chance to choose an activity.
  8. Get some alone time with the spouse or family: Once the kids are big enough, as soon as your spouse gets home, first thing, take a walk through the neighborhood with them. If the kids are too young, take them too. Unwind and talk about the day while moving. Use this time to discuss how to be consistent in relating to the kids. It may seem tough, but the dividends can pay off in spades with a stronger relationship, with the spouse and the children.