Karl Henry: 7 simple ways to stay fit and healthy with your family while you're on holidays
Holidays are a time to chill, destress, and enjoy yourself, but it can also be a time when your health plans go out the window, which is never good.
In today's column, I wanted to bring you some simple ways to stay fit and healthy with your family while you're away. It's great to spend time together and it's an excellent opportunity to make health and fitness fun with your family too. Remember, encouraging a healthy family and installing a positive association with exercise will dramatically increase the chance of your child staying healthy for life, so it really is incredibly important. Try some of these with your family - you might even enjoy it!
Play the One Minute Challenge
You can make up your own version of this, but the idea is to test how many exercises you can do in one minute as a family. Here is my list of exercises to try: Jumping jacks, sprint on the spot, heel kicks, press-ups and jump in the air. Simply do one minute of each and make a note of how you do - children will love the element of competition. Try it several times over the course of your holiday and see how much you can improve your score.
Hit 10,000 steps
You're usually guaranteed to have at least one person in the family with a FitBit, iWatch or some other kind of step counter. You can even download apps on your phone to keep track, if you don't have a dedicated device. Set a target as a family to hit the magic 10,000 steps a day. What you will find is that you will be doing walks before and after dinner, and the collective goal will make everyone less likely to want to take the bus or taxis. Plus, you'll get to celebrate the accomplishment of hitting a target every day, which always feels great, no matter what age you are.
No matter where you travel to in the world, you will be able to try new sports and activities, which are generally available for any age group. Researching in advance and booking an exciting activity is one of the really important ones, as the key to helping children stay healthy is finding sports that are fun. Trying something totally different and new on holidays is the perfect way to do this.
Play an old-fashioned game
If your family love the One Minute Challenge, suggest a group game to play together. There are so many options to choose from: basketball shooting from different distances, penalty shootouts, finding out who can tread water the longest, building an obstacle course or seeing how far you can jump in the sand. Remember, children love games and will love playing games with you, so why not make those games fun? You might even find that you're a big kid yourself.
Remember the five-a-day rule
Between buffets and being out of your regular routine, you can often lose track of how your family eat on holiday. Just remember the five-a-day rule to keep your family on track: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner. If you're at the hotel buffet in the morning, then make sure to take some fruit with you to keep as your snacks for later in the day. Sticking to some sort of a routine is so important for staying healthy, both for you and your family.
Do a workout
Quick challenges and games are fun, but you can't beat a family workout. Try this little workout with your kids and don't forget to join in yourself too: a three-minute jog to warm up, then follow with three sets and 20 reps each of: squats, plank, lunges, sit-ups and press-ups. If it's proving too easy, increase it to five sets.
Lead by example
This is the crucial one. You can hardly expect your children to be healthy if you are sitting on the sun lounger, with pints and chips in your hand. You need to show your family that you are being healthy too. So often I get emails from parents looking to improve their children's health, yet they have incredibly unhealthy lifestyles themselves. The solution? Lead by example and watch what happens to your children's behaviour.
Subscribe to The Real Health podcast with Karl Henry on iTunes and Soundcloud and get no-nonsense advice about being fit and healthy every day. For more information, visit independent.ie/podcasts. For any health and fitness questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Karl on Twitter @karlhenrypt.