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Five ways to exercise as a family

We all know that getting enough exercise is key for maintaining good health.

It’s not just about building muscle or reaching a healthy weight (although these things are very important) — it’s also about preventing disease and maintaining good mental health.

In fact, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) states that insufficient physical activity is a key risk factor contributing to disease burden in Australia. Exercise helps kids in lots of ways, from reducing their chance of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease to promoting healthy growth and development.

According to the AIHW, 70% of children aged 2-17 didn’t meet the physical activity guidelines in 2011-12, while 1 in 2 adults didn’t reach the physical activity guidelines in 2017-18. These statistics show that we have a long way to go when it comes to sitting less and moving more!

For kids aged 5-17, the recommendation is 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least three days a week, with several hours of light activity each day.

Of course, there are lots of opportunities for your kids to exercise during and after school through PE classes and sports. Exercising as a family is a great way to help squeeze in a few extra hours of activity every week while spending quality time together as a family.

Here are a few fun ways to exercise together as a family:

Walking

The great thing about walking is that it can be as easy or as challenging as you like, from walking the dog around the block to spending several hours on a challenging bushwalk.

If you have little kids or several children with a significant age gap, it’s not always easy to think of ways of exercising that suit everyone — but walking can easily be tailored to suit different abilities.

A great way to further enrich a walk is to visit wetlands, a bird park, or a national park. This gives you the opportunity to look for different wildlife and learn about nature and the creatures that live alongside us in our community.

An added bonus of walking is that you can usually maintain a decent level of conversation, giving you more time to bond as a family.

Trampolining

Trampolining is a great way to get fit and have fun — and it’s not just for the kids! You might not always find time to squeeze in a workout, but if you’ve got young kids, you’re most likely supervising them on the trampoline anyway, so why not join them?

Jumping is a fantastic way to get your heart rate soaring. While it’s a vigorous activity, it’s also low impact, which means that it’s gentle on your joints.

Don’t have a trampoline at home? There are lots of indoor trampoline centres that make a great family day out.

Obstacle course

You don’t need to have a Ninja Warrior course in your backyard to be able to enjoy an obstacle course. You can set up a simple course using objects that you likely already have at home.

Lay hoola hoops on the grass as a target for throwing a ball into, lay a ladder on the ground for jumping across, use steps as hurdles; use your imagination to make it as fun as possible.

Skipping

Skipping is a great way to increase hand eye coordination and get your heart racing!

To make it a family activity, make sure you get an extra long jump rope that can be held by one person on either side with enough room for at least one person to jump. Take turns jumping for as long as you can, increasing the pace as you go for an added challenge, before you swap out and give the next family member a turn.

Tag

Everyone knows how to play tag — and it’s just as fun with your kids as you remember as a child. Play in the backyard or head to an oval to make the game more challenging.

For something a little bit different, try sock tag: each of you tucks two socks into your waistband or back pockets. The goal is to grab each others tags while protecting your own. The person with the most socks by the end of the game.


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Capital Chemist acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live and gather as employees, and recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.