Creating a Culture of Movement: Making Activity a Family Priority

In today's fast-paced world, it's easy for screens and sedentary activities to dominate our family time. But what if we could create a culture of movement, where getting active becomes a natural and enjoyable part of our daily lives? The benefits are vast – improved physical and mental health, stronger family bonds, and establishing a foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits and a love for movement.

If this sounds like something you’d like to achieve with your family, then this article is just for you. In it, learn how to turn your home into a haven for healthy activity and make movement a family priority, including grandparents!

Finding the Fun Factor

Forget about forcing your children (or anyone!) into a regimented gym or sports routine. The key is to make movement fun and engaging for everyone involved. Afterall, the more you enjoy something, the more likely you are to want to keep doing it. Here are a few ideas you can try to spark excitement:

Embrace the Great Outdoors: Explore your local parks, go for hikes, bike rides, or have a family game of rounders in the backyard. Nature offers a natural playground and fresh air to invigorate your senses. In the summer, why not incorporate friendly game of bat and ball at the beach, or dust off the old frisbee?

Embrace New Trends: There are a number of growing sports and activities gaining traction across the UK, such as Pickleball, Padel and Spikeball. Trying something new as a family can be a wonderful and exciting experience, plus, the novelty of these activities might draw in the more reluctant of your group.

Turn Errands into Adventures: If possible, walk or bike to nearby shops instead of driving. Challenge your children (and even your parents and relatives) to races or scavenger hunts while running errands.

Dance it Out: Crank up the tunes and have a family dance party! If you haven’t tried this yet, you’d be surprised at how fun (and athletic) it can be. You can learn a new choreography together, freestyle to your favourite music, or try a specific dance style like salsa or the twist. Laughter, silliness and a heartrate spike are guaranteed.

Active Video Games: Why not opt for interactive video games that get you moving, like dance games or those that utilise motion controllers. It's a fun way to incorporate technology with physical activity, and bridge the gap between those in the family with a penchant for gaming and older generations who might be new to it.

Family Fitness Challenges: Organise weekly or monthly challenges that track steps, active minutes, or participation in different activities. Reward yourselves for reaching milestones and celebrate accomplishments together. Consider incorporating challenges specifically designed for grandparents, like walking a certain number of laps around the park or participating in low-impact activities like chair yoga.

Make it a Habit

Building a culture of movement requires consistency. Here are some tips to integrate activity seamlessly into your family routine:

Schedule Active Time: Block out dedicated time in your family calendar for physical activity. Whether it's a morning walk, an afternoon bike ride, or an evening dance party, treat it like any other important appointment.

Lead by Example: Children learn by observing. So, make an effort to be active yourself. Join your children for their activities or go for a walk with your parents after dinner. Inversely, invite them along to join in your activities where possible. Your enthusiasm is contagious.

Active Mornings: Start your day with a dose of movement. Do some quick stretches or yoga poses together, or go for a brisk walk before breakfast. This can also be a great opportunity to connect as a family and set your intentions for the day.

Active Screen Time: Try to limit screen time overall, but when you do use screens, choose active options. Explore educational apps that involve movement or exercise videos designed for families. Consider options suitable for grandparents too, like gentle yoga routines or low-impact fitness classes.

Active Chores: Make chores a family affair and add a twist! Turn cleaning into an energetic competition: who can vacuum the fastest, or who can fold the most laundry in a certain time limit?

Overcoming Obstacles

Creating a culture of movement isn't always sunshine and rainbows. Here's how to tackle some common hurdles:

Limited Time: Even the busiest families can find pockets of time for activity. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, do jumping jacks during commercial breaks, or park further away from your destination and walk the extra distance. Every bit counts!

Motivation Slumps: Everyone has off days. If your family's enthusiasm is waning, try a new activity or explore a different park. Novelty can reignite excitement.

Bad Weather: Don't let rainy or gloomy days dampen your spirits! Explore indoor options like bowling alleys, rock climbing gyms, or indoor play spaces that cater to all ages.

Remember, creating a culture of movement is a journey, not a destination.

Focus on progress, not perfection. Celebrate small victories and make adjustments as needed. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy being active together as a family.