Celebrating, though, can and should go beyond hauling your entire clan to the gym.
“When planning family activities around movement it is important to make fun the overriding factor,” said Gregory Florez, the senior adviser on workplace leadership and vitality for the American Council on Exercise. “In fact, don’t even use the word exercise. Think of using games, competitions, etc.”
Florez said this is especially important when you have a family that includes children and teens.
“If it isn’t fun, it won’t happen,” he added.
Before you decide on how you and your family will celebrate, Florez suggests considering a few different factors.
• Let each member of the family pick an activity —no matter how zany it may be. Movement is movement!
• Don’t discourage your kids in any way with their picks unless they are truly dangerous.
• If one activity doesn’t work (resonate with the family) simply choose another one.
With these guidelines in mind, Florez highly suggests you make up your own unique games and activities. But if you’re in search of an imaginative spark, below he offers a few fun ideas — favorites of his based on his experience over the years.
1. Squirt gun wars
2. “Slip-n-slide contests”
3. The old favorites — “kick the can,” “capture the flag,” etc. You’ll be amazed at how much your kids love these “novel” games.
5. Flag, or touch football — let your kids pick the players.
6. If you have access to a swimming pool, “Marco Polo” and other water games.
7. A hiking treasure hunt (pick odd shaped rocks, roots, beautiful flowers, etc.)
8. Frisbee football
10. Chase your pup until someone captures a ball or toy in his/her mouth. Keep score.
11. The time honored tire swing — either over water or in your backyard. Keep track of who goes farthest.
Florez’s final words of advice: “Remember to try to pick activities that keep everyone moving as much as possible,” he said. “Keep it fun!”