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Turn family time into active time

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Spending time together as a family has numerous benefits for parents and kids alike and scheduling a weekly family dinner has often been touted as a great way to stay connected. In this digital age when Moms, Dads and children are spending much of their days on screens, a weekly family physical activity is an equally great way to bond as a family and also get in some much needed exercise.

If each of your family members like different activities, alternate your activity each week so each family member gets to have a turn choosing the activity. Alternately, if you have family consensus, plan to do the same activity all season long. Just make it clear that only activities that every family member can participate in are acceptable.

To maximize enjoyment and prevent injuries, it is important to make sure every family member is wearing appropriate footwear, particularly if you’re participating in the same activity each week. Although worn out running shoes may seem like a good choice for a wet and muddy hike, if hiking is your regular family activity, you should invest in hiking shoes for each family member. Hiking shoes provide extra ankle support for uneven terrain as well as extra cushioning and shock absorption and they dry quickly.

Many charitable organizations host fun family runs so training for a non-competitive 5K can be a great family activity too. However, before you start training, take a close look at everyone’s running shoes. Old running shoes – even if they have just been sitting in a closet – do not provide adequate shock absorption or stability as they break down over time. If running shoes are more than one-year-old they should be replaced or the wearer will be at an increased risk of suffering a lower leg or foot injury.

If you have multiple children, resist the temptation to pass outgrown sports shoes down from your older to your younger children. Even if the shoes are the correct size, they won’t fit the second child properly as everyone has different biomechanics so the wear patterns of the first child won’t be right for the next one.

By paying attention to your family’s footwear you will ensure your family’s weekly physical activity is fun, comfortable and injury free for every family member.

By Kevin Fraser C. Ped (C) Toronto, ON

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