Often times, when starting something new or working to replace a bad habit with a healthy one, we set our sights high. And by high, I mean we create a goal at the top of a mountain, not taking into account everything else that life might throw at us along the way. I don’t want to say we dream too big because I never want anyone to think their dream is too big. But when it comes to making progress, realistic goals and quick wins are key to success.
When it comes to staying active and getting fit, the most common excuse is “I don’t have time.” You’ve heard it from friends and family members. Heck, you’ve probably heard yourself say it too. What you are ultimately saying is, “I don’t have time for myself”. or , “my wants and needs aren’t important.” We’ll save that soapbox for a bit later.
If you want to create a new and healthier habit, the key is to find creative ways to stay active. If you can incorporate 20-30 minutes of physical activity into the day, eventually you will carve out a consistent time frame for yourself and a trip to the gym or run around the lake will be something you can fit into your schedule and want to fit into your day.
In the meantime, there are a whole host of creative ways to get some physical activity each day. From enjoying the outdoors with your children to tackling the day-to-day mom duties that never end, physical activity is physical activity.
From mowing the lawn to a walk around the neighborhood or visit to the park, the warmer months provide a never-ending list of ways to stay active as a family while also enjoying a season that is never long enough.
- Mowing the lawn is a great way to fit in some activity while checking a chore off the to-do list and there is nothing more instantly gratifying than a freshly cut lawn.
- Enjoy a walk around the neighborhood. Fresh air is good for the soul, especially after a long and especially snowy winter. Get out and about with family. Walk around the block or bike to the park. Swing with your child or try your hand at the monkey bars (so much harder than it looks).
- Play a yard game or sport. From badminton to croquet and lawn bowling, there are a whole host of games that afford fun while encouraging movement, especially if your family is competitive like mine. Lacking equipment, a good old-fashioned game of tag is sure to tire out the kids and adults alike. And the list of sports that require little to no equipment or experience is long – a game of baseball or kickball or red light, green light or hide and seek. This might even become a fun, new tradition that the whole family looks forward to.
Activity in the Everyday
In our quest to get active, we often forget about the day-to-day tasks that keep us moving on the regular and absolutely count when it comes to achieving activity goals each day. Added bonus – get the family involved to increase efficiency and free up time for yourself.
- Implement a 15-minute clean up party each day. Crank up some tunes. Get everyone in the family involved. The short time frame ensures that all family members can stay on task and it creates the basis for a healthy habit everyone can benefit from. Music makes it seem more like a dance party than work.
- Everything counts. From carrying a little one around the house to loading and unloading the dishwasher to working through laundry mountain, the things we do each day absolutely count as physical activity. While the end goal might be a consistent exercise routine, start small to achieve those quick wins.
- Take the stairs. One of the easiest ways to get a few extra steps is to skip the elevator or escalator and take the stairs. Often times it can be faster and comes with an amazing sense of accomplishment. You feel stronger when you take the path less traveled.
Make a Splash
Who doesn’t love cooling down on a hot summer day with a dip in the lake or lap through the sprinkler? It can be tempting to sit back and scroll social media or read a magazine while the kids splash around, but there’s no better way to get those extra steps in and burn calories than keeping up with kiddos that never seem to run out of energy. Take advantage of the community pools, splash pads and abundant lakes to step away from the chaos and relax by the water.
- Break out the sprinkler. The young and old alike find joy in the sprinkler. It’s inexpensive and convenient, and brings back the best of memories. Your child will get such a thrill from seeing you take a lap through and what better way to cool off on a hot day.
- A trip to the beach. Or pool. Or splash pad. With an endless list of destinations for water fun, you can enjoy your favorite or try them all. Supervising children around water should be an Olympic sport for parents.
- Revisit a favorite water sport. Life is short as is the summer season. There is no time like the present to take up paddle boarding or see if you still have what it takes to water-ski like you did as a teen.
For those who want to add more physical activity into their day-to-day life, the number of ways to get and stay active is only limited by your imagination and willingness to try new things. Finding simple ways to get fit and stay active sets a positive example for your family, while also providing new and fun ways to spend time together. It positions you to prioritize health and fitness, which is good for everyone. Because mom has to take care of herself in order to take care of others.