Staying active as a family is vital in ensuring your children’s health both in the present and the future. Kids look their parents to model healthy behaviors such as eating right and exercising, which will help them carry healthy habits into their adulthood. As the weather begins to cool, it may be harder to find outdoor activities to do as a family. We’ve compiled some great ideas for you, sure to get even the littlest couch potatoes up and moving.
Apples or pumpkins? Take your pick!
Plucking apples in an orchard and picking the perfect pumpkin are fun activities for the whole family. Did you know it’s also exercise? Walking through an orchard or farm field requires movements in the smaller muscles of the ankles and feet to keep balance. Those steps also add up, especially while carrying a heavy load of produce. Not only that, teaching kids where their food comes from is especially important in creating a curiosity about the natural world and all of the beautiful fruits and vegetables we harvest in the fall.
Family bike rides
Hancock County has a plethora of bike trails, including Pennsy Trail in Greenfield. Family bike rides are a great option for staying active because they’re a fun way to get some cardiovascular exercise into your weekly or daily routine. Talk to your kids about bike safety before gearing up for your ride and make sure everyone has a helmet!
Hiking not only gets those steps in, but it also immerses you and your family in nature, which has a stress-reducing effect. In fact, it has been proven that spending time in nature increases pleasant feelings while decreasing those of anger, stress and even fear. You can choose to go for a hike on a local trail, such as the Thornwood Nature Preserve, or you can opt for a day trip to something farther and more difficult, like Brown County or Clifty Falls State Park. Either way, your whole family will find some calm and achieve its fitness goals by spending some time in the woods!
Get a pickup game going
Is your family into sports like basketball, football or baseball? What about badminton, croquet and bacchii ball? These are all great sports to improve coordination, get in some movement and up the teamwork factor in your family. Fall is a great time to get a pickup game going with your family and neighbors or friends. You can even host a friendly backyard competition.
Yardwork it out
Yardwork may not sound fun to most people, but by working together as a family and keeping things light in nature, it can be a fun way to get exercise while practicing caring for your home. Kids can rake leaves, pull dead brush or plants out of garden beds, and even help straighten up the garage for the winter. They’ll move their arms, legs and bodies a lot in order to accomplish tasks, which makes yardwork a winner for that daily dose of exercise.
HWC kids programming
If the weather isn’t cooperating enough to get outdoors, try heading over to one of the Hancock Wellness Centers in Greenfield or McCordsville. Both offer kids programming, including access to the swimming pool, basketball courts, kids Zumba and cardio classes as well! Parents pay only $3 per visit or $20 per month. Parents can get their workout in at the same time, with tons of classes to choose from as well as state-of-the-art equipment. If you have younger kids, you can join in on a Zumbini class (for ages 0-4) or drop them off at the Jungle Club, where they can choose from a variety of activities and games.
Whether you choose to go on a day-long hike, pick some apples, stay close to home with yardwork or shoot some hoops together, getting active as a family will keep you healthy and fit even as the weather gets colder. Teaching kids healthy habits now means they’ll make better lifestyle choices as they mature. Get up, get out there and have fun together!