Updated: May 27
Wash your hands. Get some rest. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Sound familiar? We’ve all heard these phrases since we were little. The simple, no-brainer steps to keep you and your family healthy and in action.
One step (no pun intended) not as widely known to fend off sickness is MOVEMENT. Yes, rest is key if you or your kiddos start to feel sick, but movement has many more benefits than just staying fit.
In fact, according to Dr. David C. Nieman, director of the Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus, “People who exercise 30 to 45 minutes a day experience a 40% to 50% reduction in the number of days they get sick.”* That’s craziness! Just by moving your body, you are giving yourself a dose of preventive “medicine”.
How is this so? When you start to move your body, your blood starts circulating at a faster pace which includes your white blood cells (WBC). WBC are the body’s immune system cells that fight off diseases, like strep throat. The more active you are the more disease-fighting power your body has.
Like with anything, you need to keep moderation in mind. Find fun, easy ways to move your body that do not cause too much strain. If an intense, tough workout or activity is a must be sure to allow some time to rest before the next one.
So what are moderate movement activities that you and your family can do to fight disease together?
Bust a move - Music has never been easier to access with free plans from Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio and more. With so much free, family-friendly music available there is no excuse not to get back to the good ‘ole days and make up a few fun dances with the family.
Build an obstacle course - Children (at any age) have a lot of energy and usually are not afraid to get creative. You can build an obstacle course using cushions, blankets or any household items that are safe to climb on.
Jump Rope - Talk about movement! Jumping rope is one of the best ways to get your heart rate up in the shortest amount of time. Start off with some single-rope skills and then move into group moves like the snake, banana split or partner jumping.
Move around with active games - Active games are a fan favorite for the younger crowd. They are a great way to get everyone involved and not only work the body but the brain, too. Our team’s go-tos are Red Rover, Simon Says, Follow the Leader and Duck Duck Gray Duck (sorry, we’re from Minnesota - it’s Gray Duck).
Act out a play - It’s always fun to see what happens when you use a little imagination. Have one member of your house pick which play they would like the family to act out, including what roles each family member will play. You can take the imagination as far as you would like with costumes, staging and even playbills.
Shape with Tape - Thanks to 3M (a Minnesota native company) for inventing a product as versatile as tape. Tape can be used for simple, easy and cheap games. You can create a hopscotch board, a race car track and even shapes to create a homemade Twister game.
Go on a scavenger hunt - As mentioned in our blog, Going Crazy Indoors? 7 Family Fun Activities to make you Laugh!, hide a small “treasure” outside or inside the house, create clues to find the treasure and send your family off to hunt.
Get competitive with a wheelbarrow race - This is a classic that never gets old. Teams pair up into twos. The driver holds on to the ankle of the other player while the other player uses their hands to walk on the ground. The first team to the finish line wins!
Play Charades - Put a pile of phrases into a bowl. Have each family member pick a phrase and act out each syllable of a word or phrase while the rest of the family guesses.
Watch YouTube Kids - Did you know that YouTube has a kid-friendly app called YouTube Kids? There are tons of videos that get kids up and moving while learning something educational. It is even better when parents join in!
For more great ideas to keep your family moving, check out 87 Energy-Busting Indoor Games & Activities For Kids (Because Cabin Fever Is No Joke) from What Moms Love.
See, keeping your family healthy can be as simple as creating fun movement together. However, we would still recommend pairing it with washing your hands, getting some rest, and eating your fruits and vegetables. Parents are always right, right?!
*You Asked: How Can I Avoid Getting Sick?, https://time.com/4204235/how-to-not-get-sick/, February 3, 2016.