The kids may be back to school, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need to pay close attention to what they’re getting up to in their free time. And no, I don’t mean getting into trouble or engaging in unruly behaviour. The truth is far simpler (but in a way more insidious). We live in an extremely sedentary society in which most of our time is spent either sitting or staring at a screen or (most likely) both. This carries with it a range of red flags when it comes to our health. A lifestyle spend sitting at a screen and a diet filled with sugary, fatty and salty processed foods is responsible for a range of serious illnesses from breast cancer to cardiovascular diseases as well as making us more vulnerable to anxiety, depression and elevated blood pressure and cholesterol.
As responsible parents, we want to ensure our children don’t fall victim to the inherent health risks of an inactive lifestyle, but at the same time frugal parents may not be able to spare the inevitable overheads when it comes to getting our kids more active. From football boots to club memberships to brand new bikes there are so many costs that parents often incur in the name of getting their kids more active, it’s enough to deter even the most concerned parents. Worry not, however, as rarely does the choice to get your kids more active mean having to compromise your carefully managed household finances.
There are many activities that are not only extremely cheap or free, they can get more active while bringing the whole family together.
We’re often way too quick to overlook walking as an activity, as quotidian as it is, but walking has numerous health benefits for the whole family. It can keep your hearts healthy, improve concentration, reduce the risk of dementia and prevent high blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Walking in areas of natural beauty also helps to instill children with a love and respect for nature as well as an appreciation of our national heritage.
Yoga has a wide variety of health benefits for people of all ages and fitness levels. It can of course improve flexibility and core strength but it is also an extremely potent stress and anger management tool as it promotes relaxation through breathing and movement. Plus, it requires no expensive equipment and with so many tutorials available on YouTube, it’s merely a case of getting the family together to practice in front of the TV.
Hold a family olympics
Dad insists he can still beat his eldest daughter in a race? Mum absolutely positive she can best her son in an arm wrestling competition? Why not settle those long held disputes once and for all by dedicating a weekend to a family olympics in the back yard. You can even have your own trophies and medals, find out more here if you’re feeling ostentatious. The events can be as diverse as you like (taking common sense safety precautions into account). Popular activities include:
- Long jump
- Three legged race
- Egg and spoon race
- Obstacle courses
- Arm wrestling
- 100m dash
- Sack race
With just a little imagination you can give your kids the gift of a happier, healthier lifestyle while bringing the whole family together.