Five Healthy Family Activities

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Good healthy habits are developed early, so if you can get your kids interested in anything from hiking to after school sports, you're doing your child a big favor, one that will last a lifetime.
  1. Orienteering
    This fast growing sport is perfect for the whole family. The object is to follow a predetermine course based on maps, clues, puzzles and a whole lot of quickstepping through the woods. Divvy up the assignments so that one family member is the map reader, one the timekeeper, another the landmark lookout.

    Orienteering provides some game play and competition to the traditional hike in the woods.

  2. The Traditional Hike In The Woods
    All you need is good hiking boots (day trippers are fine for most occasions), a trail map, some snacks and your out the door. Always make sure someone knows where you'll be hiking in case you get lost. Just stick to the map and you'll be fine.

  3. Lifetime Sports
    It's not likely that you'll be playing rugby when you're 65, but there are plenty of sports you can enjoy for a lifetime - and so can the other members of your family. Golf is a game that'll give you a workout (avoid the carts) and bowling is fun and good for fitness. Swimming in a pool, lake or ocean is another fitness activity people enjoy well into their senior years, and so is tennis. Teach you kids to love sports and they'll play for a lifetime.

  4. School Sports
    Coach your daughter's lacrosse team or your son's baseball team. Kids enjoy organized sports and if you can make it a family activity - complete with a rooting section - it's all the more fun.

  5. Jog, Walk and Set a Good Example
    Your kids want to be like you (up to a point, though you'll never sell them on your old Abba albums) so slap on your jogging shoes and do a quick mile when you get home from a stressful day. Of course, invite the kids, jog at a pace that allows you to talk and share your day as you get some exercise.
Kids are not going to take it upon themselves to add some exercise to their sedentary lives - the motivation has to come from you. Join the Y, join the local family gym, buy a Frisbee - but keep you family on the move and they'll develop good fitness habits that will take them well into a healthy adulthood.