Exercise the whole family can enjoy

We know that exercise plays an important role in our health, but with a family to look after it can often be a difficult thing to find time for. Instead of trying to escape the kids to go the gym or for a run, why not include the kids into your routine? They need exercise just as much as you do, and by acting as a role model you’re setting them up with good habits for life.

We’ve found four fun and simple ways to make exercise a family affair.

1. Music and dance

Looking for something simple and fun to do at home? It’s as easy as putting on your favourite tracks, turning up the volume and hitting the home grown dance floor with anyone who is around. Wiggle, shake, bounce and laugh your way to fitness with the family.

2. Find an activity that everyone enjoys

Whether it’s as simple as a neighbourhood walk, or as challenging as indoor rock climbing, we’re much more likely to exercise if we enjoy it. Planning exercise with a family can make finding something everyone enjoys more challenging, thankfully there are a lot of different activities, at many different skill and intensity levels to choose from.

More traditional activities like walking, dance classes, tennis and swimming are available almost anywhere. But why not try something a little different? Learning circus skills can be quite a workout, and places like Skyzone are a great way to get the heart racing.

3. Schedule the time

Exercise doesn’t just happen, like most things in life it needs to be planned and scheduled in to the week. Instead of TV on a Wednesday night plan some family exercise time; allow an extra 30 mins for school pick up and park the car a few blocks from the school and walk. For weekend jobs like cleaning, get everyone involved and make it a game, or turn up the volume again and make it a dance. Why not try a competition – get the timer on and see who can clean a floor the quickest?

The key thing is, if you don’t make the time and build it in to your routine, it will never happen.

The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines state that adults should get at least 30 mins activity every day, and children 5-12 years at least 60 mins per day. The time spent exercising can be done all at once or even split up throughout the day, which makes it even easier to build in to the day.

4. Yoga

Yoga is not only fantastic for flexibility, posture and balance, it’s great for working up a sweat and calming the mind. Over recent years yoga loving parents have been introducing their children to it too, and special kids and family classes have been popping up more and more. Centres like Yoganic offer classes, while others like Gaia offer streaming of classes and tutorials for parents and children to do together.

Exercise doesn’t have be the stereotyped image of sweating it out in the gym or running until your feet blister. It about deciding what you want to achieve for you and your family, and from little athletics to walking the dog, finding the right activities for everyone.

Looking for inspiration?
Pinterest
and Instagram are great sources of ideas and inspiration. A good place to start is the hashtag #familyfitness.

Staying safe while exercising

It’s always recommended to seek medical advice before starting any new exercise routine or when planning to increase your activity levels.

For your first few sessions, it is a good idea to test your blood glucose level before, during and after exercise, especially if you are on insulin or certain diabetes tablets that can lower blood glucose levels. Always carry quickly absorbed glucose such as jellybeans or glucose tablets in case your blood glucose level drops too low.

If at any time you feel you are experiencing symptoms of a ‘hypo’ (low blood glucose), stop, check your blood glucose levels and treat the hypo. Wait 10 to 15 minutes, test again and follow up with longer acting carbohydrate such as a sandwich, glass of milk or two biscuits. Do not continue to exercise until your symptoms have disappeared and test your blood glucose regularly to watch out for further hypos.

For more information, refer to the Hypoglycaemia and Diabetes, Physical Health and Diabetes and Physical Activity information sheets.

You don’t need to be an athlete, you just need to move a little more than you did yesterday.

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