Together: Find ways to get moving and spend time with your family. *MCT Photo
Together: Find ways to get moving and spend time with your family. *MCT Photo

Bermuda has many options to help families stay active, including gyms, fitness clubs and organized sports.

While these offer great opportunities for fitness and enjoyment, there are also lots of fun ways for families to be active together at little or no cost.

Walking is an obvious choice. It is easy and enjoyable, burns more than 300 calories per hour, benefits the cardiovascular system and helps build muscle.

And because it is low impact and requires just a pair of shoes, everyone can participate.

Varied

Taking the family out for a walk is also a great way to spend time together and get some fresh air. Find a route with hills and varied terrain to keep it interesting. Bermuda’s beautiful beaches offer not only picturesque routes, but also an additional physical challenge because you are walking in sand.

The Railway Trail, a park or even a stroll through Hamilton, are other great walking options.

For some ideas on walking routes around the island, visit Wellness Resources in the Health section at www.argus.bm/wellness and you will find 4 route maps with measured distances – Hamilton, Botanical Gardens, Clearwater and Dockyard.

Or walk on over to the playground. Even if your kids are too old to get excited about the slides, no one is too old for the playground. Use the climbing bars to work arm muscles with pull-ups, do lunges in the sand and work the abs while sitting on a swing.

Even using the swing set can burn 200 calories an hour!

For younger kids, plan a scavenger hunt on the beach or in a park. Make a list of items to collect and work together to find everything on the list. This gets everyone moving while having fun at the same time.

Back at the beach, swimming is great cardio and works many muscle groups. Even just a leisurely swim can burn more than 400 calories per hour; a breast stroke burns a whopping 700 calories an hour.

If the kids are too young to swim lengths, just splash around in the shallow water or use a lifejacket to work on some beginner swimming strokes.

If bad weather prevents you from going outside, try some indoor fitness. Hold your own boot camp, with a combination of exercises such as jumping jacks, lunges, crunches, push-ups and stretches.

Have each family member take a turn leading the boot camp, allowing them to choose the theme, exercises and even music.

Speaking of music…get your boogie on! Dancing is a great workout and a family dance party can be a lot of fun.

Allow Mom and Dad to choose their favourite songs, and then let the kids take their turn in leading the family. No dance move is a bad move and laughing is encouraged!

Video games

Even video games on a rainy day can provide great fitness for the entire family. Some sports- oriented games require the players to get up and move and a friendly match can be a fun workout.

Household chores are another excellent form of exercise, although this might take some convincing depending on the age of your children.

Young kids are easy to convince if you make a game out of it: who can find the most dust bunnies under the bed or clean the windows with the least streaks?

Older kids might be willing to take part if they understand they are helping the whole family while getting fit.

One household chore that is often popular is gardening. While it might not seem like much of a workout, with all the lifting, bending and digging, gardening can burn around 300 calories an hour.

Whatever exercise your family chooses to enjoy, don’t forget about safety. Wear sunscreen whenever outdoors and drink lots of water. And remember water safety, especially with little ones.

Stretching is also important, especially if your workout is strenuous. Be sure to stretch gently before and after exercise. Don’t bounce when in a stretch and if you feel pain at any time, ease up.

Staying fit with inexpensive ideas like these won’t cost you money, but the health benefits and fun that you will enjoy as a family are priceless. n

For more information on health and fitness, visit the Argus Wellness Programme at www.argus.bm.

Brenda Dale is an assistant vice president and project manager at the Argus Group, with responsibility for managing the Wellness Programme. She joined the company in 2009 and has 30 years of experience at a senior management level, mostly in the public sector, including 18 months as the health promotion coordinator for the Bermuda Government. Brenda has a Master’s of Public Administration as well as several industry certifications.