It’s the classic new year’s resolution to be more active and live a healthy lifestyle, and it’s a hard enough one to stick to without adding in the demands of raising and looking after your family too. Thankfully your kids can be an excellent motivator and focusing on getting active as a family can often lead to longer lasting results than going it alone.
Read on to find out our 8 top tips to get your family active and see if you can make it past the average resolution quitter’s day on 14th January.
- Make it fun
Getting active doesn’t need to be the focus, it works best when it’s a wonderful side-effect! Heading out for an adventure through a misty wood or finding out who can win a race up the hill in the park sounds much more exciting than staying fit.
- Keep it age appropriate
We’re all far too familiar with the classic refrain of ‘my legs hurt’ coming from our little one as they start to flag, and a meltdown is imminent. Making sure to keep your activities age appropriate will keep you from finding yourself miles from home carrying two bikes and a distraught 4-year-old, and mean you’ll be greeted with enthusiasm when you suggest repeating the activity.
- Plan ahead
This one should go without saying to anyone who’s been a parent for more than a few weeks but leaving the house requires a plan and a bike ride is no exception. Make sure you know where you’re going and importantly where the toilet and snack opportunities are along the way.
- Kit up
‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong kit’ is an adage that holds true (mostly – we’re definitely not recommending heading out in snowstorm here!) and it applies across all areas. Use our checklist below to make sure you’ve got the essentials:
- Quality Lightweight bikes
- Properly fitted helmets
- Comfy and warm clothes. Jeans are best avoided, and layers will always be your best bet.
- Gloves to keep your fingers toasty warm
- Lights (even in the daytime they can keep you safe and seen)
- Spare inner tube and pump
- Snacks and water
- Be a role model
We know it might not always seem like this, but your child really does look up to you. There’s nowhere this is more evident than in their relationship to a healthy lifestyle. If you can set the example of being excited to get out for some fresh air and exercise, then they’ll follow suit in no time. Ultimately, they just want to spend quality time with you.
- Screens down
The last few years have dramatically altered our relationship with screens and for a lot of kids screen time has been their main form of social interaction over that time. That doesn’t mean it should be unlimited though and providing an alternative – especially if it is with you – like a family bike ride is far more appealing than entertaining themselves at home.
- Get it in the diary
There’s no getting away from how busy family life can be so the only way to make sure everyone is staying active is to put it in the diary and make it a habit. Once you start planning regular family exercise, you’ll be surprised how quickly it becomes routine rather than an effort.
- The Golden Rule
It can be tempting to start the new year all guns blazing and plan to be riding a family 20-miler every weekend by the spring but it’s just not realistic. Stick to the 10% rule and don’t ever increase your activity level by more than that amount week on week. Anymore and you’ll find people get put off very quickly. Start slow with a 30min family ride once a week or even once a fortnight and build up from there.
If you’ve made a resolution to get more active with your family this year then we’d love to hear from you on social media. Share your journey with us so we can help keep you motivated.