10 Reasons Why Family Gym Sessions May Do Your Family a Lot of Good
They say the family that plays together, stays together and it appears that may also be the case with those working out together at a family gym. If your family suffers from the modern ills of too much to do, a lack of communication, mutual respect, and overall boredom, here are 10 reasons you might want to consider starting a family gym night.
1. Self Improvement
Everyone can use a little self-improvement in one area or another. Sometimes it can be hard, especially for tweens and teens to find something they are good at or are even a little successful doing. Music, art or sports may be challenging for your kids, but the need to succeed is still an essential part of self-confidence. Try taking the kids to the gym. There, they will be with people who love them and will not be as afraid to try something new, or even get back up if they fail a time or two.
“That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do—not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our power to do has increased.” This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson is as true today as when he said it. Your kids may struggle at first with a new exercise or piece of equipment, but ultimately, if they persist, they will see improvements in their abilities and stamina. This will, in turn, help build their confidence and help reduce their fear of trying other new things.
2. Common Goals
Have you ever noticed that it is a lot easier to go on a diet with another person? Daily support and commiseration with that person may keep you from eating that box of donuts or the candy bar you’ve had hiding in your desk drawer. The same is true for kids. Because they grow up in families, they naturally prefer being part of a group. Acceptance by the other kids at school can be a huge motivator.
Likewise, when the family goes to the gym together, you will all have some common goals or even common problems that you can all work on together. Let’s say the first goal is to sign up for a family membership. A family meeting to discuss the benefits and to set goals as to how long and how often these family gym nights will be is a great start. Let the kids participate and take an active part in making these decisions.
3. Stress Reducer and Mood Elevator
You know that your life as an adult can be stress filled and even depressing sometimes. The burdens of work, raising a family, and even volunteer work can feel overwhelming at times. Let’s think about what your kids go through in their everyday lives. There may be homework assignments they don’t understand from teachers they think don’t like them – or at least don’t get them – and peer pressure to ignore homework or to do things you wouldn’t want them to be involved in doing.
Additionally, your young ones are dealing with what they are going to wear, feeling like they are not good enough, thin enough or smart enough. They have time demands they may include piano lessons, ballet classes, soccer practice, and household chores. All of these things can cause kids to get a case of stress-induced blues and might even affect their performance in school.
When we workout, endorphins are released which produce a feeling of well-being and happiness. They can calm you down and relax you, helping you to put things into perspective and maybe even bring a smile to your face. The same is true for kids. Working out can be a natural, non-medicinal help for what ails you emotionally.
4. Time Spent Away From Electronics
Think about how many times a day you have to beg your child to look up from their phone and talk to you about something. An absent-minded, “Uh-huh,” might be all you get out of them most of the time. Communication in families, and between people in general, can be greatly hampered by our electronic competition. Video games, social media, and FOMO (fear of missing out) are powerful draws to a tween or teenager. And while we are on the subject, how are you doing? We thought so.
When you have your first family meeting about starting a family gym night, discuss if, when, and how electronics such as cell phones, mp4 players, and other electronics will be used. Even though it might be pleasant to listen to some tunes on your headphones while working out, that defeats any communication you might have the opportunity to have, so work it out in advance and get everyone to agree to your workout policy.
5. Increase Ability to Do Other Activities
As your workouts continue, you may notice your family improving in their breathing methods, muscle strength, and stamina. These should all be a part of your initial discussion and goal setting as well, and if they are not happening, they should be. Most family gyms will have a fitness coach in-house that you can consult for ways to improve your performance and ability. Maybe you could choose an activity you would like to do as a family but are unable to consider because of family fitness issues.
Working on a stair stepper or elliptical machine, for instance, may help you prepare for a mountain hike. Perhaps your gym has a pool, and you can take family lessons to prepare for a vacation to the beach or a lake.
6. Comparatively Inexpensive
If your family of three goes to a movie once a month and each gets popcorn and a drink you will be spending around $50 to $60. If you have a pizza and ice cream dinner out once a month, you could be looking at around the same amount. That is around $1,440 spent in a year, sitting and eating high-calorie foods. A family gym membership on average can cost between $750 to $1,200 a year for a family of three.
Do some shopping around, and it may be possible to get a new-member or other discount. If a gym is too expensive for your family, look into joining the local YMCA or a similar community-sponsored facility. Even taking your family for a walk each evening or investing in some bicycles is a worthwhile investment.
7. Positive Encouragement
How many times a day do you find yourself saying any of these words to your child: no, don’t, too busy, maybe later, you messed up, you shouldn’t, or you can’t? You get the idea. Researchers say it takes 10 positive comments to combat the bad that is done with one negative comment. So it looks like we may have a little bit of work to do.
How great would it be to spend some time working out together and use some positive words, such as: good job, you’re getting it, big improvement, great effort, or you’re hanging in there? These positive affirmations can go a long way toward helping your kids not only enjoy their time at the gym but also to feel more positive at home. And, as a parent, you will be able to think of more positive ways to communicate outside the gym as well.
8. Bonding Time Together
As mentioned earlier, there is a lot of competition for our time and attention – for parents and kids alike. For many, family game nights have gone the way of the wind. Teaching the kids to cook is messy and time-consuming, and sitting around the table for a late-night catch-up is hard when you are tired from working all day. It is hard to find something positive that involves everyone, so when do you do some quality family bonding?
Sharing common goals and spending time together naturally leads to a sort of camaraderie and even some inside jokes as Dad’s belly gets bumped on the upstroke when he is riding an exercise bike or when other amusing moments occur.
9. Improves Individual Fitness
Not only the family as a whole but also each individual should, over time, be able to see some improvement as you continue family gym night. Maybe Dad will eventually see that belly we just mentioned flatten out a bit. Maybe Mom will start to see her stamina improve or her body grow leaner. The kids may find that they have more upper body strength and are working more muscle groups. As each person’s fitness sees some progress, they may be able to add a few more reps or jog a little longer.
10. Starts a Healthy Lifetime Habit
Starting something as a kid, that is enjoyable, produces results and that involves your family spending quality time together creates good memories and solid habits that they will want to continue with throughout their lives. Being in good shape, or at least improving their fitness level will show rewards in other areas of their lives, and reinforce the good feelings and gratification they feel.
So get off the sofa, put away the popcorn, and call your family for gym night. It will do your family much more good than bad, and you may be surprised at how close you grow as you encourage and support each other in your efforts.