Sports: A way to strengthen family bonds Sports: A way to strengthen family bonds

Tolerance, solidarity, discipline and teamwork: these are some of the values that sports reinforce.

Advisor: Juan Carlos López Pineda, coach

With the best of intentions, some parents establish strict routines for their children that include extracurricular classes and sports activities in order to keep them busy and stimulate their competitive spirit. As a family activity, however, sports help strengthen emotional bonds and can be a therapeutic way to boost self-esteem and eliminate stress.

As coach Juan Carlos López states, “This activity not only allows us to relax, but allows us to reinforce – together with our loved ones – values such as responsibility, honesty, respect and commitment.”

It is important to encourage this practice, “…as it allows us to develop routines that help us to release stress, come together as a family and adopt healthy lifestyles that lead to physical and emotional wellbeing,” López adds.

Traditional sports such as basketball, volleyball and soccer, for example, teach how teamwork is important to reaching a common goal, allowing players to tolerate, accept and respect the differences between them and use each other as supports to overcome obstacles.

As López explains, “It is important to consider the preferences of each family member when choosing a sport. If everyone likes something different, at least try to find a way to play these sports at the same location, and if possible, at the same time; making it possible to establish a family sports schedule.”

The frequency of this schedule depends on the availability of each person. The suggestion is to do practice this sports activity two to three times a week, especially on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays and in the evenings during the weekdays after getting home from work or school.

López recommends following a routine where you stretch and warm up in partners in a way that fits the activity that will be done. He also suggests families set goals and challenges, follow a special diet at home that is specific to each family members’ state of health, and be consistent with the type of exercise that is being practiced. Whatever you choose to do, the idea is to make a habit out of it, which is why parents and older siblings should be the main motivators.

 

Exercising is beneficial to the overall wellbeing of a family and fosters children’s gradual initiation into the sports world.

Sports that make for closer relationships:

Hiking or walking: The main objective of these activities is to enjoy nature and breathe and fresh air. These activities are recommended for all ages, and depending on each person’s physical condition, their intensity can range from basic to intermediate. These activities are ideal for grandparents.

Swimming: Swimming is a sport that adapts best to the skills of each individual. It can include introductory courses for babies, water aerobics for the elderly and swimming classes for children. This sport helps build a healthy sense of competition.

Skating: This is a fun activity to do in your free time and to do with cousins and siblings. It requires equipment such as skates, gloves, wrist protectors and helmets. It fosters socialization, teamwork and helps bring on new challenges.

Wall or rock climbing: This activity encourages participants to collaborate in order to choose the best route and to support who is at the front or back of the line. It is a way to build trust between siblings, parents and children, or couples.

Ultimate frisbee: This activity is good to do with the whole family. Trust, respect and discipline are key aspects to enjoying it. Because no judges or referees are involved, it promotes fair play through honesty and respect for the other.

Before and after exercising:

  1. To improve aerobic capacity with exercises such as running or cycling, do a 30-minute warm-up that involves coordination and agility exercises as a family.
  1. Do power and speed exercises such as jumping and short races to improve reaction responses and to stimulate competition. Maximum 20 minutes.
  1. When finishing a sports activity, a 5 to 10-minute cool down is very important. This is how the body recovers and is how the muscles return to a resting stage after a high-intensity activity.