Post-Diwali Family Fitness Challenge: Are You Game?

With obesity becoming a huge problem even in childhood, it’s high time we made healthy living a family priority. If each member motivates others to keep fit, there will be no chance of a Diwali bulge!

By Luke Coutinho

Post-Diwali Family Fitness Challenge: Are You Game?

Festivals are incomplete without food and we all end up eating a lot of it (especially mithais) during celebrations. While festivals like Diwali bring immense joy, your happiness could turn into guilt all too soon if you give your generally calorie-conscious mind a break, throw regular diet regimens out of the window and succumb to gluttony.

Binging on the goodies just turns into those not-so-good extra pounds! But don't worry just yet. There are a lot of simple yet effective ways to help you lose those festival calories post-Diwali.

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Think outside of the gym!

After overindulging in festive cuisines high in sugar, salt, and trans fats, it is important that you burn off all those unhealthy calories quickly. But you might not be able to hit the gym or spend time on proper exercising during the festival season. That’s where your family can come to the rescue. Turn exercise into a fun activity which you can enjoy collectively. Half-an-hour to 45 minutes of jogging, brisk walking, playing tennis or badminton or even gardening can help you work off those extra calories. Make fitness fun and a part of your regular routine.

While the fitness drive can be completely voluntary, you should encourage each member of the family to participate. Keep it positive and do not let anyone make fun of another person's efforts or participation. Be a role model — you’ll soon find your children entering into the spirit of the exercise.

Start by calling a family meeting and explaining your goal to everyone. Then decide collectively on a schedule of activities. Create an interactive Family Fitness Page/Log to guide everyone through the programme. Make a timetable of all the activities for the duration of the fitness drive and display it on your fridge or somewhere where everyone can see it easily. Keep a record of all the activities you undertake as a family and set up a rewards scheme for every single achievement.

Here are some activities that you can include in your programme:

  • Take a hike: Hiking is a great way of working out without even realising that you’re working hard. See if you can identify some scenic hiking trails of easy-to-moderate difficulty in your vicinity, and set off. Don't forget to carry some healthy snacks with you. Mixed nuts, chana-murmura and dates are good options.
  • Play hard: Be it cricket, tennis, volleyball, football or other outdoor games, playing as a family can be fun. Make your own family rules and device incentives. Perhaps you can try old-school games like relay races and sack races too.
  • Hunt for treasure: Hide something special — it could even be a special (healthy) treat and make a treasure map. Get everyone in the family to try and find the ‘treasure’. Make it physically challenging by sending the treasure seekers all over the house and garden, making them bend down, climb stairs, etc. Keep it fun, and they’ll love it while getting some great exercising.
  • Walk the walk: Set a target for the number of kilometres you will cover in a week. Then choose fun destinations — a mall or a movie theatre — and walk all the way there. You could even expand the circle and make it a community event by planning a charity walk.
  • Go fly a kite: Go to a local park and fly kites as a family. Enjoy the fresh air and get some physical exercise at the same time.
  • Push it up: Take a push-up challenge by starting with a round of push-ups and tracking each member's progress throughout the week. Recognise and reward each person's achievement.
  • Aim and shoot: Get goofy and fit — create a family fitness video. Plan what kind of exercises you will be recording and what each of you will be doing. Upload your finished work on YouTube or other social media. This is also a fun way to inspire your friends and extended family to join in the fitness drive.

Over and above planned physical activity, there are simple things all of us can do to stop those extra calories from sticking to us.

Grab every opportunity to walk. Walk to the shops, walk to your relatives’ homes, walk to a get-together with friends, walk about while you talk on the phone.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Do stretching exercises when you’re watching TV.

And don’t forget to eat healthy while you’re in the midst of all this activity!

Remember, healthy families are happy families! 

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