Staying fit in your golden years doesn’t have to be a pain or painful. As you age it’s vitally important to your mental health and immune system to keep your body in good shape. Bone density and muscle mass decrease at increasing rates every year after about 40, and both can be helped with regular moderate to rigorous exercise. But why not make your late-in-life exercise regimen a fun family affair?
There are plenty of ways to get and stay in shape by yourself, but involving your grandkids in your healthy lifestyle can be even more inspiring and helpful to both of you. Show your youngest loved ones they can start and keep taking care of their bodies at any age.
Here are 10 great ways to get fit with the grandkids:
1. Fitness video games
Fitness video games on the XBOX Kinect and Nintendo Wii platforms are the most popular high-tech ways to get active and have lots of fun with the whole family. You can choose from dancing, sports, boxing, mixed martial arts, adventure, and even yoga video games. Just pick your favorite style and get moving!
Dancing is a great way to get the whole family fit. If those dancing video games are not your style, there are many forms of dance anyone can enjoy at any age. Try a family dance-exercise class at a local studio or gym. Cultural dancing can be lots of fun and very social, helping you meet other active families. Belly dancing and hula dancing are also cardio workouts that help build muscle tone and strengthen your core.
Walking can be relaxing, reduce stress and help you and your grandchildren bond and grow a stronger relationship. Just walk together around the block, neighborhood, park or community jogging track. If you have a dog, make walking it a family affair, and get in at least 30 minutes per day.
Biking with your grandkids can be leisurely or fast paced fun and a great workout. If your grandchildren are still using training wheels, you can help them become independent bikers. Ride around the neighborhood or local park on classic riders, or rent seated bicycles or tricycles for a new perspective on riding. Always bike in designated zones, obeying traffic laws.
5. Hula Hooping
Hula hooping isn’t just child’s play. It requires skill, coordination and cardio stamina. But hooping has come a long way since your generation. Now larger, heavier, modified gear is in play for fitness hooping, designed specifically for core and cardio work. Learn tricks and dance moves, walk, turn and twirl all while hooping.
Yoga can be surprisingly strenuous depending on the type you practice. Take your grandkids to a Kundalini yoga class for movement of the body and energy centers. Even more meditative styles require working on flexibility, strength and balance when practicing poses. It will bond you and your kin in body, mind and spirit.
7. Trampoline Parks and Indoor Playgrounds
Trampoline parks and indoor playgrounds are an awesome, fun way to get your rambunctious grandkids tuckered out but the end of the day. They’ll be running, bounding and jumping all over, but you can exert as much or as little energy as you need to feel the burn.
8. Water Workouts
Water workouts like paddle boating, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing and swimming can be a family affair for the spring and summer. Keep your grandkids in life jackets and help them learn to swim to make sure they stay confident in the water.
9. Winter Sports
Winter sports like skiing and snowboarding may not be regular exercise, but will be a fun adventure you’ll never forget. And the skills you and your grandkids will learn will last a lifetime.
10. Hiking and Camping
Hiking and camping go hand in hand. Enjoy the outdoors with your family and bond over exploring and enjoying nature. Fish, forage and cook by campfire.
Always remember, safety first. Gently stretch prior to working out and wear appropriate padding, helmets and other safety gear for each activity. Get professional training for strenuous and intricate activities you are not skilled in. And consult your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for physical exercise before starting a workout regimen.