Most Aussies don’t get enough exercise – but you don’t have to be one of them! Jumpstart your family’s fitness with these handy tips and tricks.
But first, the facts
If fitness isn’t a big part of family life at your place, consider this: regular exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your overall physical wellbeing and boost your mental health – and it can do the same for your kids, too.
According to national guidelines, adults should be doing at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week, as well as muscle strengthening activities (like bodyweight exercises or lifting weights) at least two days a week.
Kids have slightly different needs – toddlers and pre-school children should be active for at least three hours every day, while children and teenagers should get moving for at least 60 minutes. But regardless of age, the takeaway is the same: we all need to limit the time we spend sitting down.
Time to get moving!
Incorporating more exercise into your life can be surprisingly simple. The key is making it fun – and what could be more fun than getting the whole family involved?
Here are some low-cost ideas to get you started:
Make a splash: Head to your local beach, pool or water playground and spend an afternoon splashing away. If you’re at the beach, you can even challenge the family to some soft-sand races – a sure-fire way to get your heart pumping!
Check out the view: Commit to a weekly family walk and choose a new destination every time you go. Explore new neighbourhoods, hit up your local botanic gardens, or plan a bush or coastal walk close to where you live.
Evening stroll: Take advantage of longer spring-summer evenings with an after-dinner stroll around your neighbourhood streets. It can be a nice way to unwind at the end of the day, as well as to combine physical activity and family connection.
Take it outside: Head into the yard (if you have one!) for game of catch, piggy in the middle or hide and seek. Or get stuck into some old childhood favourites – think elastics, handball or a cartwheel competition.
Dance the day away: Clear some space in your lounge room, crank up your favourite playlist and throw an at-home family dance party. You can even pop on a YouTube video and learn a choreographed dance together.
Make a game of it: Playing party games at home is a great way to keep fitness fun – think pillow fights, musical chairs or a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt.
Ready to up the ante? Share your progress with your family and friends. Who knows, your family could be social media stars in the making!
Get help from the experts
If you’re looking for a more structured approach to family fitness, give these programs a try:
MyMarathon: The Heart Foundation’s MyMarathon challenges you to walk or run 42.2 km in the month of October and raise funds for lifesaving heart research while you do it. Form a family team and do a little each day – it’s a great way to motivate everyone to work towards a goal.
Coles Healthy Kicks: This free online fitness program was created in partnership with the AFL – and it’s been designed with everyday Aussie kids in mind. With exercise, mindfulness and cooking tips from some of our favourite AFLW and AFL players, your kids will be healthier and happier in no time.
Jump Rope for Heart: Skipping is great for heart health, and it’s fun, too – which is why this Heart Foundation program has been keeping kids active since 1983. Encourage your school to sign up or start your own skipping challenge at home – all you need are some skipping ropes.
Heart Foundation Walking: Join Australia’s largest and free walking network today and make a group walk a part of every week.