Being active with a young family

Being a parent or carer can be busy and stressful at times. It’s understandable if you’re struggling to think how being active can fit around your, already hectic, life. The good news however, is that being active can not only fit around your life, but it can actually help to make family life easier for everyone.

How can being active help my young family?

Being active can help young families in all sorts of ways, for example more active parents will find that they have more energy to cope with the everyday demands that are a part of family life. It can feel much easier to keep up with the kids and get the housework done, if you’re living a more active life.

Living a more active lifestyle is also a great stress reliever, as something as simple as going for a walk can give you a moment of peace to clear your head. Another benefit is that it can help you sleep better (and we know how vital sleep can be to new parents!).

Being active can: 

  • Give you more energy
  • Boost your confidence
  • Help you sleep
  • Improve your mood
  • Reduce stress
  • Help you manage/lose weight
  • Fight aging by strengthening bones/muscles and improving balance and coordination
  • Help manage long term conditions like diabetes and COPD
  • Help you have fun with friends
  • Make you feel good about yourself
  • Reduce the risk of serious illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke

Also, not only is it great for parents, it’s good for kids too. Active parents set a good example for their children, which can help create healthy habits that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. And being active as a family, doing something like dancing, can be great fun and really bring the family closer together.

What activities will fit around my life?

Between going to work, keeping the house tidy, taking the kids to and from school, helping with homework and everything else that goes with being a parent, it can be hard to imagine how you can fit being active into your routine… but it’s easier than you think.

Our 10-minute activities section has some great suggestions, which as the name suggests needn’t take any longer than 10 minutes. You can do these whist you’re getting ready, waiting for tea to cook or whilst you’re waiting to pick your children up from school.

There’s also lots of other activities that you can do together with the kids, or if you have an hour or so free during the week or at weekends. Going walking with your family helps you get active and spend quality time together. This can slowly turn into a family jog the more you do it. Dancing as a family can be a great laugh and teaching your children to swim is also a very rewarding and healthy activity you can join in with. Visit our activities section for more ideas to get you and your family more active.

How much should I do?

Health experts suggest that, if you’re not very active at the moment, it’s a good idea to start by aiming to do at least 10 minutes of activity where you can. Once you’ve got started, you should try working towards doing 10 minutes or more on 3 or 4 days a week. Then, when you feel comfortable, work your way up to doing half an hour or more on 5 days each week (or 2 and half hours across a week if you prefer).

Children need to do more… It is recommended that kids aged five to 16 are active for an hour or more a day!

Can the kids join in?

This question will depend on their age and their individual level of health. Activities like walking, swimming and our 10-minute activities should usually be okay for most children to join in with. You know your kids better than we do however, so don’t do anything too difficult with them and keep an eye on them when they’re being active

Visit Change4Life for more activities that children can do.

You can find some simple tips and ideas on some activities for kids in this NHS factsheet too