A family that sweats together, stays together. The value of making quality time out of exercise or sports is absolutely important, and it ranges from improving family teamwork and communication, to simply associating family with the endorphin rush that comes with putting the human body to work.
Here are four ways to keep your family fit and tightly-knit through shared physical activity.
Treat Your Family Like a Team
The first bit of advice has to do with mindset: in order to sustain a habit of bonding through exercise, everyone’s goals need to be in line. Some members of the family might be after fitness, others after fun, and others yet might be after developing some physical skill. Choose activities that blend your family’s varied motivations to exercise, and it’ll help keep everyone on board with the program.
Also on the point of keeping everyone motivated to stick to a habit of family exercise, it’d also be a great idea to shop for sportswear that reflects the personality of each member of the family. Better yet, you could try shopping for custom athletic wear like those offered by Strideline. You can easily design a color scheme or subtle motif to be worn on each family member’s gear, and leave the details to their personal tastes.
By treating your family like a team with different goals and identities, it becomes easier to find common ground and shared meaning in the activities you choose.
Build Around Existing Interests
Picking a sport or activity can be tough when mom’s into yoga, dad’s into golf, and the kids are into all sorts of team sports. If common ground isn’t easy to spot, try cycling through activities that two or more family members might be interested in at a time to make sure everyone gets a day in a week or month when the family enjoys their preferred activity. There are plenty of ways to build an exercise plan around existing routines.
The same rule applies when motivating family members who aren’t into exercise to begin with. Their interests in music, video games, or media can serve as a bridge to getting exercise. Airsoft is a popular and strenuous activity for fans of video games, as are laser tag or martial arts. The point here is that putting effort into finding activities for the disinclined to exercise can pay off; it’s all just a matter of looking for what your area has to offer you, and getting creative by linking their existing hobbies to new activities, or even custom socks.
Even if your family is interested in running, it might not be the best idea to sign everyone up for a 42k marathon right away. For families just getting into the habit of bonding through exercise, it’s important to know just how much push the person taking the role of coach should give. Not enough push could mean a wasted trip to the park, but pushing too hard could mean one or two family members might ignore your invitations back.
Start small and build your way up to a level of intensity and frequency that maximizes the gains of family exercise.
Bonding Can Happen In Different Ways
Make the most out of car rides, dinners, and other cool-down activities that happen after exercise. Building a strong and loving family has to be a process that runs 24/7–don’t waste any opportunity to keep everyone’s spirits high and encourage them to appreciate family time in subtle ways (declaring, “Isn’t this great!” at every chance might seem a tad too desperate).
Finally, while it’s ideal that the whole family would have a good time enjoying themselves doing the same exercise activity, there is an endless variety of hobbies you can all engage in. But when this isn’t possible, remember that showing up to support family members at their own individual sports and activities can go a long way in building family unity.
At the end of the day, what matters most are that steps are being taken to make sure that everyone can actively appreciate what being a family is all about, and that a strong habit of exercise keeps everyone in shape. After all, a family’s happiest when it’s at its healthiest.