2014-04-18 / Business

Fun ways to be a fit family

Obesity is a global epidemic affecting people of all ages. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of Americans are considered obese, while Statistics Canada notes about 25 percent of Canadians are obese. Being overweight or obese has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer, and children who are overweight are likely to be overweight or obese adults.

While eating a diet that is low in fat and high in whole-grain fiber, vegetables and lean proteins is important, exercise remains one of the key factors in maintaining a healthy weight. However, many adults and children simply do not get enough exercise during the day. An active lifestyle is often hampered by the prevalence of digital devices or sedentary jobs that encourage more screen time than fitness time. But there are ways for the entire family to get fit. Exercising together is not just a great way for families to get healthy, but also a great opportunity to spend time together. The following are a handful of ways families can work together to incorporate more exercise into their daily lives.

* Tackle chores. Yes, tasks around the house can count as exercise. Working together not only gets you moving but also cuts down on the time it takes to tackle tasks around the house. Mowing the lawn, vacuuming the rugs, sweeping the floor -- all of these activities can get the heart pumping. Make it fun by setting chores to music or competing against one another to see who gets their task done first or the best.

* Compete in the pool. Swimming is a low-impact activity that works many muscles in the body. Taking a dip in the pool can be both relaxing and beneficial to your health. Compete with family members to make the most of the time spent in the water. Host relay swimming races, see how long each member of the family can tread water or create any other competitions that keep everyone in the pool moving.

* Create an outdoor obstacle course. Set up a series of obstacles in your yard and host your own triathlon. You can jump through tires, climb through tubes and scale trees. Make it fun by having adults try to ride tricycles or pair up an adult with a child for sack races. The opportunities for fun are only hampered by your imagination.

* Go for family bicycle rides. Traverse your neighborhood or blaze new trails by riding bikes together. Young children can be strapped into trailers that are pulled behind the bike or ride in seats attached to the bike itself. This gives everyone a chance to enjoy the great outdoors and hone their cycling skills.

* Go hiking. Hiking is another fun family activity that also happens to make for great exercise. Choose a trail that may not be level and push everyone’s endurance to the test.

* Stroll the beach.Walking or running on sand offers more resistance than walking on pavement. Take a stroll at the seaside. Break up the walk by collecting shells or stopping by the water to observe marine wildlife.

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