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Exercising as a Family: Wellness for the Body & the Heart

DenaFebruary 6, 2020

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that it was a gray, February day, and well… today we had more of the same. The fog has been as thick as pea soup all day and a steady drizzle endlessly falls from the sky. It’s a little bit depressing after awhile–we’ve had so much rain this winter–but there is something beautiful in it too. The way the Canadian geese fly in their perfect V formations across the colorless sky; the way the barren tree branches look like spilled ink against the gray; the way the fog hides the hills and mountains in the distance. There is something magic hidden in this gloomy weather too.

Still with all of this rain and cold, we’ve been indoors way more than I would prefer lately. That’s why scheduling a weekly outdoor adventure is high on my list of intentions for 2020. No matter how nasty it is outside, I am making it a point to get outside with my little ones at least once a week. Fresh air and exercise is so important for our wellness. Staying active lowers our risk for disease, reduces our stress levels and vastly improves our emotional health, helping my kids do to better in school too.

Little ones won’t always decide to get active on their own. (My kids would happily spend the day on devices playing Pokemon Go and watching YouTube if I let them!) So sometimes I’ve got to get creative to get them outside and encourage them to stay active. As their mama, it’s my job to make them see that moving should be fun.

Several decades ago family time was easy to come by, but in today’s world of endless notifications and ever-present electronic devices, it can be so hard to come by. Even though spending time with family without distractions can be a challenge, it’s so important to me to carve out uninterrupted family time on a regular basis. Getting outside and moving is one of my favorite ways to do just that. Here are a few of our favorite outdoor activities to get you (and me) inspired on yet another gray, February day.

Hiking and Nature Walks
As they say, “When you have the right clothing, no weather is bad weather.” No matter the time of year, if you dress for it, getting outside for a walk, a hike, and some frsh air is balm for the soul. Walking let’s us stretch those cooped up muscles, and reconnect with nature, all while sharing stories about what’s going on in our lives. Using an app or a pedometer to track everyone’s steps, is a fun way to add extra challenge and distance to your family walks. One of the best things about hiking is that you don’t need much. Apart from a backpack for water bottles and spare jackets, you just need comfortable, weather-appropriate shoes. You can find useful reviews of workout shoes at the Walk Jog Run website, so you can easily get those that suit your needs perfectly.

When you need a break from chores and the kids need to take a breather before finishing their homework, going for a family bike ride is a great option for everyone. You can bike to the local park or to the grocery store for some last-minute shopping. Cycling improves stamina, increases muscle strength and flexibility, boosts joint mobility and improves posture and coordination. Riding my bicycle is one of my favorite childhood memories and creating new memories with my babies means everything to me.

Everybody that knows our family knows that we love to garden. In addition to being a beautiful way to grow our own beautiful bounty, gardening gives all of the main muscle groups a great workout including legs, arms, stomach, neck, and back. In addition, since everyone gets their hands dirty, nobody is tempted to grab their phones. Double win.

Everyone is always down for a dance party in this house. Sometimes we do them inside, sometimes we do them outside. Sometimes there’s music and sometimes we just dance to the rhythm in our hearts. Not only do my kids love to get silly while dancing, but they have a great time doing it while easily working up a sweat, too.

Exercising as a family will strengthen your family’s relationship, as well as your muscles–body and heart. I hope that you enjoyed the photographs in this post from a couple of summers back. Nothing like the gray of this day, but so heart-warming to see that golden sunshine behind us, reminds me that it’s just around the corner. xo

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