Getting Fit With the Whole Family
You can change your life by getting fit with your family.
It can be hard to juggle recovery, work, life commitments, and quality family time when coming out of addiction. However, these are all important, both to yourself as a recovering addict, and to your family as a whole. The benefits of fitness to all are profound.
So, what do you do?
Try finding something you can all do together in your down time that will improve your wellbeing and get you all moving. We’ve got some ideas on how to do this below.
The importance of getting fit for your whole family
Fitness is incredibly important. You can gain plenty of benefits from living an active lifestyle, and from teaching your children to be healthy and look after themselves from as early as possible. Wellness is one of life’s priorities, and we all need to focus our attention on it.
Regular exercise will improve physical and cardiovascular health whilst promoting healthy musculature and joint health. It can lead to improved quality of sleep, a reduction in stress and anxiety, lowered blood pressure, an improvement to cognitive ability and energy levels, and will reduce your risk of suffering from a host of chronic health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, and many more.
A fit family will be a happier, healthier one.
We all know this. Even without knowing the ins and outs, everybody knows that fitness is somehow a ‘good thing’. But this is only part of the battle. Knowing and doing are very different things! You might struggle to find the time, energy and willpower to stay on top of your fitness. As above, it all becomes hard to juggle.
However, there is an easy fix. Focussing on fitness with your whole family can pay dividends.
Being fit with your family
Family duties can leave you without much spare time. Getting your kids to school, taking them to appointments, rushing them from club to club, all while trying to hold down a job and potentially be a partner to your spouse all makes life feel hectic. This only gets worse if you’re in recovery, when you need to be spending more time building yourself up than ever.
At the same time, children are more sedentary than ever, especially with the recent Covid pandemic slowing things down.
Where you might see an endless tugging of priorities – a precarious balancing act – it may pay to revaluate and begin to see this all as an opportunity. Rather than trying to compartmentalise, allow for cross-pollination.
Get moving with your family, getting in that precious quality time, working on everybody’s fitness, and having fun in the process.
It’s far easier than you might imagine. You will also be able to learn some important healthy habits and pass them onto your children in the process.
How to get fit with your family
It’s healthy and positive, but what exactly should fitness with your family look like? The possibilities are endless. As long as you’re moving, you’re exercising. As long as you’re doing it all together as a family, you are all benefitting.
However, there are some common ideas that may help you decide what to do with your family. These fitness solutions can be healthy, fun, and incredibly life affirming – all things useful to a growing family and those recovering from addiction, alike.
Get away from the screen
This is a big one. You don't need to be a budding athlete. Simply limiting the amount of time you all spend watching TV and playing computer games can lead to more physical activity.
Track how much time you and your children spend in front of screens. Then try setting boundaries and cutting it down a bit. If they spend three hours an evening in front of a screen, aim at two. Take the screen out of their bedroom. Set aside an hour or two during which there can be no media at all.
Kids being kids, they will figure out different ways to entertain themselves. This will inevitably mean being more active. Join in with them. Play with them, take part in their adventures, get outside a bit. It all adds up.
You can get fit as a family by walking
Walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise going. It’s also arguably one of the most beneficial. Just half an hour per day will give you all the health benefits that exercise in general offers. It is also a lovely way to decompress and spend some quality time in the great outdoors.
Try a short walk in the local park all together each evening. Try finding a couple of trails or rambling routes for weekend excursions. It will be a great way to get your exercise in whilst getting some time together and introducing your children to the natural world.
Walking is also appropriate for all ages. If your children are older, find routes that they can manage. If you have a baby, use a buggy or stroller. Let them lie back and watch the natural world go by as you get your steps in. For a toddler, do the same, but have them walk for a while, push them for a while, then have them walk a little more, on and off for as much as is comfortable for them.
Sensory movement is great fun
Sensory play and movement are very important to babies and toddlers. You can do a lot. There are plenty of yoga studios offering parent and baby classes (there are plenty online, too). It isn’t limited to yoga, either. A quick online search will throw up dozens of ways to integrate your fitness session with sensory play.
You can get fit whilst you enable your child’s growth and teaching them good habits.
You can also get your child to teach you how to move, especially as they get beyond the toddler years into their pre-school phase. Exploration is incredibly important – climbing trees, running about in the park, playing and wrestling, building sofa forts and playing active games like hopscotch and catch, setting up treasure hunts, finding out how their bodies exist in space.
Join in with them, copy them, laugh with them, again enabling their growth whilst getting up on your feet yourself.
All of these child like activities also enable you to connect with your inner child, an added bonus
Take fitness classes together as a family
A family who plays together stays together – it’s a pithy, oversimplified maxim, but there is some truth to it. Try taking up a sport together, that you can do as a family.
For example, many martial arts classes are family centred. There will be separate children’s and adults’ classes. However, there will also be plenty near you that run family classes open to all. Work through your grades together, pushing and encouraging one another through your belts.
Alternatively, invest in some tennis rackets. You will be able to find a court nearby, perhaps in your local park, generally either low-cost or for free. It doesn’t matter what skill level you’re all at. Just knock some balls around, run about a bit, and gradually get better and fitter over time.
Dance classes can also be a good way to go. They can teach your children to be outgoing and confident in their bodies. They will also be very tiring for all of you, getting you very fit very quickly.
Make being fit with your family simple
Don’t try to go for a hundred things at once. Don’t always rely on planned activities. One of the major benefits of fitness is its ability to mitigate stress and anxiety. It would be self-defeating to have scheduled, planned fitness adding to your stress levels.
If your children are feeling playful, play with them. Rough and tumble is a great way to raise your heart rates whilst teaching them proprioception, coordination, and restraint. Walk where you can, rather than driving or taking elevators.
Simply try to move a little more.
Find a reason for to be fit with your family
Fitness is its own reward. However, you might want to work towards a goal. It can also be a very nice life lesson for your children to show them how to work towards something.
With this this in mind, sign up for a 1k run or a 5k walk. If they are older, consider going for a 10k or half marathon. Maybe make it a charity event.
Children can have fun collecting donations and training towards the walk. It’s also a great way to show them how to be giving, to teach them the value of charity and looking after other people.
Get a dog
If all else fails, seriously consider getting a dog (allergies, money and time permitting, of course). It’s hard not to be active when you have a dog running about. They will naturally gee your children up to play and run about. They will also need daily walks, which will force you to get out and about. Take them out as a family.
Of course, it’s a big commitment, especially when you have your family to worry about. However, it will help you develop good habits, and will force you to stick to them.
Fitness with the family: the take home
Try all of these. Or try none of them – come up with your own way to get everybody moving. The bottom line is that fitness is incredibly healthy, both for your body and mind, and it can be a great bonding experience. It needn’t be a chore to slot into your day. Instead, exercise can be the focal point of your family’s time together.
You can also subscribe to our Wellness hub so that you can work out from the comfort of your own home with professional led classes
It can make everyone a bit healthier. It can make you all a bit happier and a bit less stressed. You might sorely need this as you recover from addiction.
Author - James
Do’s and dont’s for exercise and lower back pain
Make fitness fun for the whole family - https://www.eatright.org/fitness/exercise/family-activities/make-fitness-fun-for-the-whole-family