Family Fitness: An Approach to Exercise For The Whole Family
We all feel overwhelmed at times. There are so many items on our to-do-lists – food shopping, carpools, homework, sports, managing finances… the list goes on. Keeping up with the pace of modern life often makes it difficult to find time to exercise. So why not merge exercise and family bonding together and maximize everyone’s time, while keeping the whole family healthy?
Exercising as a family strengthens relationships and raises endorphins, nature’s joyful hormones, giving you a more positive perspective on life. It’s like taking a natural happy pill! The best part of making fitness a family affair is that it can help boost your immune system, reducing sick days! Plus, you’re instilling a lifelong healthy habit in your kids – one that says move more and sit less! You’ve heard sitting is the new smoking, right? With technology today, it’s not just parents who aren’t moving enough—kids can spend just as much time in front of a screen as we do!
Growing up, I remember shooting hoops with my dad, playing water volleyball with my siblings, and walking to the local park together with bat and ball in tow. As we got older, my parents allocated gym equipment into the garage and laundry room. I remember using it in tandem with a family member – often watching a show together on a little TV. I’ve carried on the same tradition with my family, only now we have more props. I love props as much as kids love them – exercise balls and bands, foam rollers, balance discs, and more. My family knows that daily fitness is part of everyday living.
Even when we take those huge family vacations, we’re out being active together. My mom will still insist we do a little morning yoga with her – while other family members push for hikes, biking, or playing catch. But we all move together! Teaching your kids that fitness is part of daily life will help them succeed – countless research articles link fitness to better brain power, healthier self esteem, and lower risk of depression, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. After reading this article, commit to one thing you and your family can do together this week in order to begin to build your family fitness routine. Once you are in the groove, add your own creative ideas to get moving, and share your ideas with Land O’Moms social media to inspire more families to live fit!
Here are Some Fun Ways to Help You Get “Up to Speed” with Family Workouts
- Instead of going to a movie and dinner, get a babysitter and take your partner on a fitness date! Discover a new local hiking trail, hit the gym together, just walk around the neighborhood, or ride on over to your local biking trail.
- Find events that the whole family can enjoy that requires walking—for example, an outdoor sidewalk chalk or art show, car show, walk for cancer event, or an architectural or historical walking tour.
- Train for an event together – like a Color Run, biking event, Turkey Trot, or Obstacle course events.
- Exergame together. Say “yes” to Wii and Xbox fitness games!
- Make music videos together on Musical.ly. Practice all your dance moves with the kids. Your kids will get a killer abdominal workout from falling over in hysterics watching your dance moves. Yes, I speak from personal experience!
- Look for more ways to challenge your fitness level when you’re outside. For example, recently at Universal Studios, I took 345 stairs instead of using the escalator, which led from one part of the park to the next – up a mountain! When the kids wanted to quit, I said “We only have 100 more to go, don’t you want to be able to say you climbed the mountain?” It worked!
- On national holidays or other school holidays, arrange a hiking outing instead of a play date.
If you go to a local pool or nearby beach, bike there! Every family member can strap on a backpack filled with a towel, sunscreen, and anything else they need.
- Create your own obstacle course in the back or front yard.
- Garden together with intermittent catch or jump rope to keep their interest. Gardening can be quite the workout, especially if you are tilling the soil or planting – your quads will feel it!
- Buy some gadgets. Kids love my bosu ball, foam rollers, and bean bag weights. Put some music on or a good TV show, and they’ll get moving!
- Make a day at the beach a workout: bring boogie boards for the ocean, a kite to run with, and a Frisbee to throw.
If you’re struggling with carving out time for fitness, see the Secrets of Creating More Time for Healthy Living.