Regular physical activity is a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle at every stage of a human life. From an early age, movement is one of the most important aspects of the child's normal development, and later it becomes a key factor in maintaining a high quality of life in adulthood and old age.
Physical activity can bond generations together and make the time spent with the family far from boring, but rather great fun for everybody, regardless of age. Time spent being physically active together is more pleasant and certainly healthier and more productive than sitting around a table laden with food – or on a couch, watching TV.
There is just one fundamental question: what activity to choose, so that all family members will be able to participate in it, from the youngest ones to the eldest?
The most natural physical activity
A simple walk is the most obvious activity, available to people of all ages. Walking is the simplest way to move, and so it is always a good idea to persuade the whole family to go out even for a short stroll, for example, after a family dinner.
Walking is not tiring and does not require any special equipment. All you need is the will to do it, and the time spent together in a park or a forest will be very effective in encouraging the youngest and the oldest members of the household to be active.
Nordic walking, or walking as a sport
Walking with a pair of special poles was initially invented for Finnish cross-country skiers, who needed to stay in shape during the summer, after the skiing season was over. Gradually, though, nordic walking became an amateur sport and in fact one of the most popular types of physical exercise, especially for older people.
Because it requires relatively simple technique and equipment (just two special poles), and can be practised almost all year long, nordic walking is one of the best sports for the whole family.
The perfect environment for the youngest and the oldest members of the family
Movement in water is practically the safest physical activity for humans. Thanks to the buoyancy of the human body, there is no need to “fight” gravity. You can move gracefully, but because of water’s natural resistance, many more muscles will be active than if you were to move on land.
A family outing on the shore of a lake on a warm summer day, or a visit to an aquapark or swimming pool in the autumn or winter is not only fun, but also a great opportunity for children and the elderly to be active during their leisure time. It is a highly beneficial and very safe form of physical exercise.
Bicycle. Cover long distances with little effort
Cycling is one of the most popular activities across the world. Most people try to master this skill at a very young age, and – as we know – once you have acquired it, it stays with you forever.
The bike is a fantastic mode of transportation, the one that improves the efficiency of the circulatory system and helps you build up strength and endurance. It also forces the body to improve its coordination and balance, which is particularly important for children and the elderly. And it allows you to visit many distant places within a short space of time – and with little effort.
Due to these benefits, cycling is a universal sport, with practically no age limit. It can be enjoyed by the youngest members of the family, who wish to acquire new skills, as well as the oldest, who want to stay in great shape for many years to come. All this makes common cycling excursions a particularly attractive way of spending time with your family.
Spur all generations to exercise!
Time spent with your family is priceless, so you want it to be of high quality. Outdoor activities, games and recreation are a great way to integrate different generations in the family. Why not add some variety to family life and, instead of limiting yourself to passive relaxation, spend some time together enjoying a healthy and exciting physical activity?
Physical therapist and certified manual therapist. His blog, “Fizjologika” (“Physiologic”), deals with the issues of modern orthopedic rehabilitation. He is passionate about treating spine, knee and sports-related injuries.