Emily Buckley, editor-in-chief
Most parents intuitively know why exercise is important for their families: it can increase life expectancy, lower heart risks, help control weight and improve school performance. As an added bonus, it helps kids to burn off energy that is sometimes misused indoors.
Since inactive children are likely to become inactive adults, making family activities and fitness part of your child’s life at an early age can go a long way toward helping them form healthy habits for life.
But, parents shouldn’t expect their kids to understand (or care!) about those things. Instead, our job is to help children see that exercise is fun. When exercise feels like play, whole families will enjoy it more and be more likely to stick with it.
Mendon residents Wayne and Cory Wheeler, who own local businesses Joyride Bikes in Downtown Logan and The Trailhead at the entrance of Logan Canyon, are doing their best to instill a passion for physical activity in their young sons.
“For us, I don’t want our exercise to always be a planned thing,” said Cory. “It doesn’t have to be soccer or something else officially organized. We just like to get outside, whether it is going out to kick the ball or riding on the trail near our home. After school, we just say, ‘Let’s get out and do something!’”
Wayne agrees, and feels lucky to make a living doing something he enjoys and can involve his family in. “It is a mix of doing business, being active and following passion,” he said. “It is a family adventure everyday. Cory and I work together, and the boys enjoy spending time in the shop and look forward to working there someday.”
Joyride Bikes, which the Wheelers have owned since 2011, is a family-focused bike shop. “We offer bikes for everybody, from entry-level to high-end bikes,” Wayne said. “We focus on our service, and try to ensure our customers have a good experience.”
Their second business, The Trailhead, which opened this year, is an outdoor gear consignment store. “We designed that business around Cache Valley,” Wayne said. “We know people here like to get out and enjoy the outdoors, but sometimes that is hard to afford. So, as a consignment shop we offer two services: We help people sell their used gear and buy ‘new’ used gear. This way, they can afford to get out and do the things they enjoy.” The Trailhead also offers rentals and service for skis, snowboards, snow shoes, bikes and other outdoor sporting equipment.
“We like to encourage our friends and customers to just get started,” Wayne said. “Don’t be afraid if you’re out of shape or if you don’t have the right gear, there is a good place for everyone to start.”
Cory agrees, “Whether you have the fanciest bike, or just something with two wheels, just get out! We live in a great place to be active all year round.”
[colored_box bgColor=”#628a3e” textColor=”#ffffff”]According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, children need 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity daily, but it doesn’t have to occur at once.
Here are a few ideas to help your family get started down the path to a lifetime of physical activity:
As a family, set goals to work toward together. Make these goals specific & achievable. Instead of saying you will exercise more, set a goal like walking for 30 minutes, three times/week or going on a family bike ride each evening.
SCHEDULE YOUR ACTIVITY
The most effective way to begin increasing your family’s physical activity is to schedule time for it. Start by identifying two or three 30-minute time periods for activities like taking a walk, playing sports or doing active chores. Choose times of the day or week when everyone is most likely to stick to the schedule.
If a conflict comes up during physical activity time, reschedule instead of canceling.
IDEAS TO GET STARTED
The ways enjoy physical activity as a family are endless. Here are just a few ideas:
• Play tag, go swimming, toss around or kick a ball, jump rope, hula-hoop, dance to music or even play a dancing video game.
• Plan a family Olympics and make goals for the events each family member will participate in.
• Walk the dog, go for a jog, ride bikes, take the stairs or go to the park to run around for a while.
• Make a new house rule: No sitting still during television commercials.
• Celebrate special occasions — like birthdays or anniversaries
— with something active, such as a hike, a volleyball or soccer game or playing Frisbee at the park.
• Involve the whole family in active household chores like vacuuming, and yard work.
• Walk instead of drive.
• Choose parking spots further away than the norm. Make walking to your destination a game with your children by counting the number of steps from the car to your destination.
•Train as a family for an organized walk, run or bike ride.[/colored_box]
See a list of the races in Cache Valley.
Visit our local adventures page for lists of Cache Valley’s best parks and playgrounds, picnic locations and hike/bike trails.