Making Exercise a Family Activity

For people with diabetes, regular exercise can help to lower blood glucose levels and improve management of the condition. But there’s no need to get moving on your own. Exercising with your family offers a raft of benefits, from improving bonding time to teaching kids healthy habits for life and helping you to be accountable. Not to mention exercising with the fam bam is a whole lot of fun. Read on to learn more about the benefits of exercising with your family and how to make it happen.

Benefit the whole family

There’s no doubt modern family life is a juggling act featuring work, school, keeping house, social lives and more, and time together is often snatched in the car on the way to footy practice or in front of the TV after a busy day. Allocating time for family exercise, even if it’s 30 minutes each day or weekend afternoons, is a great way to spend quality time with your family.

“Exercising together allows families more time for communication and a chance to debrief from the day outside of screen time,” says exercise physiologist Mark Simpson. “It also gives parents a chance to have some time with the kids, often in a one-on-one environment.”

Over the long term, research shows that active parents are more likely to raise active children, which is especially important as genetic influences and lifestyle factors such as inactivity are linked with Type 2 diabetes. Australian research by VicHealth reveals that children who have parents who co-participate in physical activities and active siblings are likely to be more active and have a lower body mass index (BMI).

“Exercising as a family gives parents a chance to actively role model,” says Simpson. “It shows that everyone can be physically active, so it’s not just about being fit but about being healthy and role modelling to your kids that health is a lifestyle.

“Risk factors for chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer start from when we’re children, and if you’re overweight as a child you’re more likely to have health issues as an adult. Kids are more likely to be physically active if they see their parents as healthy role models.”

The power of accountability

Having a plan for exercise that the whole family has agreed upon offers a special benefit for people with diabetes: accountability. When you have a whole household of people expecting you to kick the ball in the park, go bike riding or enjoy a morning jog, you’re much less likely to bail.

And unlike with friends for whom social niceties may win out, your family are unlikely to let you off the hook if your motivation lapses. “Most families don’t have any issues with critically reflecting or reviewing each other, so it’s obviously a lot easier for someone in your family to say, ‘You need to commit to what you said you would commit to’, whereas with friends it’s a lot easier to sell an excuse,” says Simpson.

If you’re worried about being outpaced by your fitter children, research suggests young legs may help you to achieve better results. A study at Kansas State University found people who exercised with a buddy who they perceived to be better than them increased their workout time and intensity by as much as 200 per cent.

Making family fitness happen

Simpson notes that the best way to ensure family fitness becomes a long-term habit, is to make sure every member of the family has a say in what they want to do, what they hope to get out of exercise sessions and what the schedule will look like.  And, as with all things family life, compromise is crucial.

“If everyone has some influence then everyone is more likely to push for the activities to happen throughout the week,” says Simpson. “But if your son likes kicking the footy and your daughter likes to play netball, you’ll have to negotiate that with everyone.”

And he says there’s no need to panic if your family prefers to freestyle rather than stick to a rigid exercise schedule. “It doesn’t have to be structured exercise,” says Simpson. “It can just be getting out and getting moving, so perhaps making Tuesday the exploring day, Wednesday the fitness day, Thursday the sporting practice day and Friday the ‘try a different exercise’ day.

For people with diabetes, regular exercise can help to lower blood glucose levels and improve management of the condition. But there’s no need to get moving on your own. Exercising with your family offers a raft of benefits, from improving bonding time to teaching kids healthy habits for life and helping you to be accountable. Not to mention exercising with the fam bam is a whole lot of fun. Read on to learn more about the benefits of exercising with your family and how to make it happen.

 

RELATED
int(202)

Finding time in the day to squeeze in some exercise can feel like an impossible task, and leaving your desk at lunch is unheard of in most office environment...
Woman working out Australian Diabetes statistics
LOCATE A PHARMACY
Enter your post code *Pharmacist in charge has completed Sanofi sponsored Education

Please enter a valid postcode.