Easy Family Exercise

Working out as a family is a generally good idea. It teaches the kids to build good fitness habits and can be very encouraging for the parents. It’s also a lot of fun.

Going to the park

I don’t mean for the parents to sit and watch while the kids play. Pushing kids on the swing can be a small workout for your arms. If you have two young enough to enjoy being pushed on the swing, you can do what I call ‘kid juggling’ and push one with each arm. If you get them going at the right rhythm, it’s pretty constant.

If the playground equipment is strong enough, you can climb and slide with the kids. Yes, it’s undignified. It’s also fun.

family exercise

Older kids can enjoy playing sports at the park. Kick a ball around, play a bit of baseball, whatever appeals to your family.

Go swimming

Well, probably not right now, in the middle of winter, unless you have access to a nice indoor pool. But once things warm up this is a great form of exercise.

The younger your kids are, of course, the more limited your own activities will be, but even with babies you can do a lot of exercise. Even jogging in place in a swimming pool takes some effort. So does swinging kids around in the water.

Walk, skate, ride a bike…

You get the idea. Whatever your family will enjoy doing together. The nice thing is that these can be done along your own street if you like, or you can venture further afield.

Play in the snow

It’s winter, and while exercising outside is a bit harder to do, taking advantage of the snow is a really fun way to do it. Bundle up and play in the snow if it’s in your local area, or drive out to enjoy it!

Kids can maker it harder to go to the gym, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work out. Making the time for exercise as a family can be loads of fun.

Where Is That Perfect Gym For You?

Joining a gym is a great way to get access to some really incredible exercise equipment. For some people it’s a real motivator too. But they’re expensive in a lot of cases, and a lot of people hardly ever go to the gym they pay so much to be a member at.

How do you pick the right gym? There are several factors to consider.

1. Are you comfortable there?

If you’re just getting started, will it make you too self conscious to go to a gym where it seems like everyone has been working out heavily for years and years? The right atmosphere makes it much easier to go to a particular gym.

Some gyms are set up just for women, such as Curves. Some have rules against grunting as you work out. There are many factors to consider.

2. The right cost.

Many people have to think budget when they pick a gym. If you need low cost, I understand the YMCA has great prices. But if you want a different gym and cost doesn’t matter so much, pick one based on other criteria.

3. Your level of commitment.

If you aren’t committed to going to the gym, don’t bother joining one. Many people keep paying and paying for no benefit because they never go.

You may be able to increase your level of commitment by finding a buddy to workout with. Join the same gym or even different gyms if you’re just going to compare stats, and really push yourself to make it work.

4. Distance.

If you have to drive too far, will you really go? This is related to your commitment level, but the a long drive can mess with even the most committed.

5. The contract.

Read the contract carefully. If things don’t work out, some gyms have contracts that are utterly miserable to get out of.

Some gyms also have different levels of access, depending on your contract. You may be able to visit other locations, which is very useful on vacation. You may have access to childcare. Make sure the contract offers the features that you will value most.

There’s no one right answer for which gym you will be comfortable at. As you consider gyms, think about what it is you want from them. Take a tour and see if they have a trial period before you have to sign a contract. There’s nothing like experience to tell you if the gym is the one you want.

Is the New Year the Right Time to Start a New Fitness Routine?

Getting fit is one of the classic New Year’s Resolutions. It seems like people are always saying they want to get fit right now. Why is that?

Honestly, this is one of those things you should work on whenever you realize you need to get fit. But at the New Year is as good a time as any, and may even be the best time to get a workout buddy, since other people you know may well be making the same resolution.

But if now is not the time that you will stick to your goal of getting fit, don’t commit yourself to it. Find the right time to set up a workout schedule.

stationary bikes

When it’s wrong

This is the wrong time if you’re stressed out from the holidays and have no idea how you’re going to go about getting fit. It takes a plan. It takes commitment. If you don’t have those, you’re probably only going to frustrate yourself.

If you know you have too many excuses for why you can’t so much as take a regular walk around the block for fitness, never mind working out, you probably aren’t ready to get fit yet.

If feeling like you’re so out of shape that you won’t fit in at the gym, decide if that is too much of an obstacle to join a gym, then figure out an alternative. This can be an obstacle, but you don’t have to let it be one.

When it’s right

Getting fit is the right decision most of the time, however. It doesn’t take money if you don’t want it to, so even finances should not be an excuse. Anyone should be able to find a safe place to take a regular walk, even if it’s just around the block at home, around the office you work at, or the mall. They’re all free, so you just need to pick the one that meets your needs.

You can also do basic exercises indoors at home with no equipment at all. Crunches, dancing randomly to music, anything you can do to get in motion.

If you can afford some basic home gym equipment or a gym membership, so much the better. This can often be one of the easy ways to get a workout buddy. Find someone who wants to join the same gym and plan at least a couple nights, mornings or whenever it works a week to workout together at the gym.

Many people find a workout buddy to be a great motivator. If you can’t work out a schedule to work out together, just try comparing how often and how long you work out. That can also be enough to give you that extra nudge to keep going.

But the most important thing to remember is simply that you don’t need to give up just because right now is not the time for you. Get started when you can make the commitment, then plan out what it will take to keep going. Having goals can make it a lot easier.

Stealth Exercise

Being too busy to work out is one of the most common reasons why people don’t exercise. Just about everyone uses it at some point. But even if you don’t have the time to break for even 15 minutes to take a walk you can sneak in a little bit of exercise.

Think about times you just stand around… brushing your teeth, cooking, that sort of thing. Leg lifts or walking in place can get you moving just a little bit more. It’s not a lot of exercise but it is something.

Put a little more effort into housecleaning. This in itself is fair exercise. Do a bit more of it and work harder at it.

Work out whenever you watch television. It may be a leisure activity, but it doesn’t have to be so sedentary. I like using a Gazelle while watching television, doing crunches, leg lifts, whatever. An exercise ball can be nice too. Fitness balls are also nice. The exercise shouldn’t be anything that makes it too hard to watch your show, or you probably won’t keep up with it. Then again, there are always commercials!

Working out at the computer is harder. This is one of the hardest areas to work out, and it may not be possible to do much about that. You can move your legs, but generally not much and not terribly effectively.

When you shop, park further out. The added walk really won’t be all that bad, and it’s generally much easier to find a spot.

Stealth exercise isn’t generally enough to get you fit, but it’s better than not trying at all.