Plan fitness for the whole family

Approach an active, healthy 2016 together as a clan

After Christmas the gyms are packed and clothing stores roll the sweats to the front of the shop.

Many will make resolutions to get more fit. Recreation Oak Bay is ready for those who vow to get the entire family in on the activity.

“I personally have used parks or playgrounds to keep us all active since my son was born,” says Nicky Brown, community recreation co-ordinator at Henderson Rec Centre.

“I would push him in a swing and then run laps or do jumping jacks or pushups in between pushes. Now when we take the dog to the park we take a plethora of sports equipment and I alternate between throwing the ball for the dog and shooting soccer, hockey or basketballs for my son. We all get fresh air and a good run around – including the dog.”

New this year, Recreation Oak Bay’s tennis program invites families to learn how to play tennis together.

“Stop watching your kids have fun and learn to play tennis yourself,” says Simon Vickers, tennis co-ordinator.

Sundays they now offer adult lessons at the same time as children’s lessons in the hope families will take more advantage of the outdoor tennis courts at Windsor, Carnarvon and Henderson this summer.

“Tennis is truly a lifelong sport;  I started playing tennis with my family during vacations. I still play 25 years later and have made many good friends through the years.”

Alongside the new tennis offering is the stand-by family pass that allows the gang to drop in to skate and swim as a family.

Family swims run Sundays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Family Skate is Sundays noon to 2:45 p.m. and Family Fun Gym runs 5:15 to 7 p.m. every Friday at Henderson Recreation.

“Adding more physical activity to your daily routine doesn’t have to complicated or expensive, says Krista Enderud, fitness programmer. “Simply adding a few extra steps into your day can be fun and rewarding while providing multiple health benefits. Choose activities that you enjoy and find interesting to help keep you motivated for lifelong fitness.”

She suggests families do it together, a great way to stay motivated and make fitness fun.

“Take it outdoors with hiking, biking, kayaking and swimming to name a few, all while enjoying the natural surroundings,” Enderud said.

“Keep it simple by walking, take the stairs, go for a bike ride or buy a skipping rope. Get the whole family in the habit.”

Breaking up activity makes it easier to fit into a busy day. Ten-minute segments a few times a day can be as effective as 30 consecutive minutes. Try a short walk in the morning and again after dinner.

“Let your pets take you for a walk. Include simple bodyweight exercises in between throwing the ball for the dog such as pushups and squats,” she said.

“Plan fitness activities the whole family can enjoy such as nature walks, cycling, swimming or games.”