Let's Celebrate Family Health and Fitness Day!

Let's Celebrate Family Health and Fitness Day!

Since 1996, the last Saturday of September has been created as Family Health and Fitness Day USA to promote a healthier lifestyle with family-related health and fitness events. This year, Family Health and Fitness Day USA is on Friday, September 30. It's an opportunity to talk with your children about your family's habits and ideas around health, including the value of movement. It's also a chance to get moving and enjoy activities that promote health and fitness.

With busy schedules between school, work, after-school activities and other commitments, we understand it can be hard to make time to engage in fitness activities together. The good news is that even 30 minutes or an hour of family fitness on Saturday, September 30, is something to celebrate!

Here are 10 ways to make the most of Family Health and Fitness Day this year. (Yes, swimming is always our number 1).

  1. Go for a Swim!

Of course, we can't think of a better family activity and way to exercise than swimming. It’s a low impact activity that engages every major muscle group and can be enjoyed for a lifetime. So if your weekly lessons are on Saturdays, we'll see you at Big Blue on Family Health and Fitness Day! If you're lucky enough to live somewhere warm, schedule a family swim at the local pool, lake or beach to your day. You could plan to hit up a local indoor pool for those in cooler climates.

2. Hit the Playground

When your kids ask to go to the local playground, do you tend to sit on a bench and take out your phone while they play? Parenting is hard work, and taking a break is ok. On Family Health and Fitness Day, consider putting that phone back in your purse or pocket and playing with your kids. Push them on the swing or try out the monkey bars and slide for yourself!

3. Take a Walk or Hike

Walking is a smart move for people of all ages. Head to a local park or nature preserve and enjoy the start of the fall season on a nature walk. The slower pace of a walk or hike gives you time to chat as a family and gives any explorers time to check out plants, bugs and more. Don't forget to pack water and sunscreen or bug spray if needed.

4. Join a Local Event

Many park districts, sports clubs, gyms, nature preserves and more host community-focused events for Family Health and Fitness Day. Google, Twitter, Instagram or your local organization's Facebook pages are good places to check to see what kind of events are in store. If you're feeling ambitious, organize a movement-based meet-up for your child's PTO or PTA.

5. Head to the Backyard

An organized event or family outing is always fun. The front or back yard can be a movement-filled adventure if time is short. Play catch or go old school with an all-family game of freeze tag, Red Light/Green Light, Red Rover or Mother, May I. If you're feeling ambitious, consider having everyone in the family design an obstacle for an all-family, friendly competition.

6. Hop on Your Bikes

September brings decent weather across much of the country and is an excellent time of year to bike, scoot, rollerblade, skateboard or do anything with wheels. A family outing is also an ideal time to model safe riding, like crossing the street safely and riding where your community allows. Show your child that you wear the appropriate safety gear, like helmets or wrist guards, and check your equipment before you roll.

7. Play Inside!

You can have fun indoors if the weather doesn't cooperate where you live on Saturday, September 30. Short on ideas? You could suggest cleaning to get everyone's heart rates up. You could also look to the many family-ready video games and videos online that feature dance, movement, yoga, stretching and more. The floor is lava is also always a popular option and sure to lead to laughs!

8. Share the Fun

Invite another family over for a kickball game, frisbee toss or to play yard games. Ask your guests to bring a favorite healthful dish to share. Showing your child how to socialize and eat together in groups in healthy ways is a wonderful lesson in having a life-long relationship with activity and sensible eating.

9. Cook as a Crew

Eating a variety of foods and listening to your body when it's satiated are elements of children developing healthy relationships with food. Family meals are times to connect, and cooking together can bring the same energy and impact. Research easy meals and let the kids make lunch or cook – while supervised – a simple supper.

10. Plan a Harvest Garden

While the end of the growing season for many garden-to-table favorites has passed, there's no time like the present to think about next year's crop! Growing your own food helps kids understand where their food comes from and encourages curiosity around fruits and vegetables. Once you get to planting, you can have the family multitask since tending your garden is also an excellent way to get some movement into your day.

We hope you have a fantastic time celebrating Family Health and Fitness Day this year!