Here are some thought-provoking facts and figures,
- On average, North Americans sit 11 hours per day.
- 65% of Americans watch 2 or more hours of TV every day. And,
- Sedentary lifestyles are responsible for an estimated $24 billion in direct medical spending.
The number of Americans who currently live a sedentary lifestyle is growing. The sedentary way of life that has been attributed to a rise in the following:
- high blood pressure,
- cardiovascular diseases,
- certain cancers, and
The case for reviving and embedding an active lifestyle is more important than ever.
We are blessed to be living in, for the most part, a country of plenty. Where food is all but a drive or phone call away. We have modern conveniences that enable us to be fed information and entertained at the same time. Right in the comfort of our homes. We have cable television, radio, the internet, smartphones, and computers. In and of itself, these things aren’t bad. Yet it is the availability of these same conveniences that can lull us into a sedentary lifestyle.
According to research there now millions of children, young teens, and adults who have embraced the sedentary lifestyle. Fewer that are pursuing outdoor activities. Fewer and fewer signing up for team sports. Even fewer who are committed to a daily fitness routine.
So what can we do about it?
Here are three ‘exercises’ that you can do as a family.
I have enclosed the word ‘exercise’ in the paragraph above for a reason.
A family routine seen as not being fun – i.e. formal forms of exercise like running, and weightlifting – will be soundly defeated right out of the gate.
There will be moaning, groans of protest, and outright tantrums. And I am not just talking about the children here.
Every session of family activity will be a hard slog of negotiations or outright bribery.
It’s sometimes easier to just join them then try to convince them. The trick here is to re-look at some of the things that both children and adults might do during the day. Things that isn’t necessarily seen as physical activity or exercise.
I have a list of three activities that may just be the thing to get a little – or a lot of – movement into the day.
- Competing in activity-based video games. Technology is not all bad. In this instance, you can make it work for the whole family. Gaming consoles now incorporate technology that is able to track the movement of players. These games can either involve dancing, adventures, or virtual sports (i.e. tennis). There is even a game that encourages the destruction of random fruit thrown into the virtual air. The player’s hands become virtual swords that slice through said fruits. These games are not only fun to play but also encourage friendly competition. Trust me when I say that it works up quite the sweat.
- Walking or riding to the local park or school. This is a no brainer. This is the lowest hanging fruit for getting the family to exercise together. Incorporate scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades if you have them. Just not the electric variety.
- Pre- or post-dinner walks. Even if just a brisk walk around the neighborhood before or after the family meal. Anything to wake-up an otherwise sluggish metabolism and get the blood going.
Benefits On An Active Family Lifestyle
Scheduling a regular family exercise into the week is awesome for two reasons,
- It allows the family to spend more quality time together. And,
- Creates a positive association between health and exercise.
The health benefits gained from family exercises and activities can stave off health issues. Especially issues that may arise at a later age.
You may even experience something together that will most definitely last a lifetime: fun.