Exercise Your Way to a Happy Family
A survey based on ten everyday habits shown to increase happiness revealed the frequency with which people practiced the various habits. Acceptance, although one of the habits most strongly linked to happiness, was practiced least. (You can learn the 10 habits of happiness and 5 ways to practice acceptance to promote happiness in your family at Habits for a Happy Family.) Exercise is another habit shown to promote happiness. You could say “a happy family is an active family.”
- Exercise helps transform a bad mood into a good mood. One group of researchers even reviewed 39 studies involving 2,326 people to discover exercise provides moderate relief from depression.
- In another study, Baron found people who maintained an exercise program for sixteen weeks slept better than those who did not exercise. A good night’s sleep promotes happiness. (My children will vouch for that!)
- Exercise is fun, too…once you get started. Research suggests people enjoy exercising more than they predicted.
Overall, exercise promotes happiness. If you want to increase family happiness through exercise, make it part of your family lifestyle. Get active. Here are four tips to help make exercise part of your family’s happiness.
- Make it fun. Find an activity your whole family can enjoy. If you don’t like to run, don’t do it. Try hiking, biking, swimming, tennis, yoga…. The point is to find an activity your whole family can enjoy together.
- Encourage one another. Family activity and exercise is not about winning. It is not an opportunity to demean or belittle. You will likely enjoy some level of competition in your family exercise. Use that competition to teach good sportsmanship. Teach your family how to win graciously and lose in a dignified manner. Begin teaching good sportsmanship by modeling it.
- Model an active lifestyle. Let your family see you exercise and move. Talk about things you learn through exercise. Let them know how exercises impact your daily life and mood.
- Have fun. Did I say that already? Let me mention it again. Have fun. Exercising as a family can be a great time. Enjoy one another’s company. Celebrate one another’s victories, great and small. Encourage and support one another during the activity. Then sit down and reminisce about the game. Talk about the greatest play of the game, the climb’s greatest challenge, or the most creative shot. Laugh about the lucky goal or the awkward slip. Have fun!
Now get out there and exercise. You will feel better. Your family will feel better. And everyone will be happier because a family that exercises together is a happy family.