Have you ever stumbled down the rabbit hole of online scrolling? It starts with a short video of baby hedgehogs napping with puppies, then an octopus squeezing through a dime-sized opening in a boat back into the ocean, and it spirals from there to an array of talk show comedy clips, with a sprinkling of synchronized wedding reception routines waltzing through your feed.
Before you know it, 20 minutes have passed, and you’ve just burned the crescent rolls you put in the oven, because you were distracted scrolling. If we were in class right now, I’d sheepishly raise my hand, because I’d be guilty of this mind-numbing (but oh-so-entertaining) time-wasting offense.
The brief list below contains simple and somewhat silly ways to put those 20 minutes to better use by getting active with your family (or even all by yourself — this is a judgment free article zone — after all).
• Get your groove on, and just dance.
The “Just Dance” video game has been around for years, but it was only recently introduced to my Nintendo-loving children, who’d been playing Super Mario Brothers on their father’s vintage system for all of their young lives. While this is not an advertisement for any particular game, it is an encouragement to put on music and move by dancing in your living room, along with a video game, or wherever you choose in whatever way suits you! Too busy to devote time to dancing at home? Crank up those car tunes on your commute, and shimmy in your seat (while wearing your seatbelt, of course). Dancing can burn more than 100* calories in 20 minutes!
• Catch up with family and friends by walking while you talk.
Do you have people in your life you’ve been meaning to reach out to, but you just can’t find the time? Grab your sneakers, cell phone and get in touch with your loved ones while you hit the pavement during your lunch break. All caught up on phone calls? Take an after-dinner stroll with your family. Walking can burn more than 60* calories in 20 minutes!
• Make memories by getting creative with your children.
Be productive next time you’re scrolling by getting ideas from parent videos. Construct an obstacle course inside or outside using household items, like chairs, balls and jump ropes, or ask your children to come up with an activity.
What you choose to do isn’t the important part. The true gift is spending time with your loved ones. Getting fit is a bonus. Family fun is priceless, and the memories made will trump the number of calories expended every time.
*Calories calculated using the MyFitnessPal app
Holly-Koofer-Thompson is a communications support principal management analyst for the Office of State Courts Administrator. She is also a married mother of two, residing in Holts Summit.