Exercising together creates a healthier mind, body and family connection. Why let the kids have all the fun? Commit to getting fit as a family!
Family physician Kim Foster says, “There are added benefits to being active with your family … and one of the biggest is the role-modeling aspect. By showing your kids that being active is a priority—plus it’s fun—not only are you improving your kids’ health right now; you’re increasing the likelihood they’ll stay active throughout their lives.”
Families that work out together develop respect for one another, strengthen family bonds and achieve the daily physical fitness every person needs. Here are a few ideas to get started.
Taking a structured fitness class with your family is valuable, explains Michael Walsh, director of Northern Karate Schools. “Reversing the role of who is in charge, to my mind, is very healthy … When a 10-year-old brown belt is teaching his mother how to get through her yellow belt test, there is a bond being developed that strengthens the family dynamic. Children learn that parents have to learn like they did. Parents, as students, gain a renewed appreciation for how hard it is to perform [the karate] techniques.”
Make it fun
Make family fitness fun by preparing an idea jar of weeknight activities (quick activities like a neighborhood walk) and a jar of weekend activities (longer activities like horseback riding). Then, take turns picking an activity from the respective jar each day. This incorporates kids in decision making, yet allows parents control over timing.
Quick weeknight activities
- play at a playground (indoor or outdoor)
- do burpees
- play catch
- play tag
- go rollerblading
- go bike riding
- walk like a crab
- play Ultimate Frisbee
- jump on a trampoline
Longer weekend activities
- explore a maze or labyrinth
- play badminton, tennis, basketball, baseball or soccer
- go hiking
- go geocaching
- go horseback riding
- run a color run
- go zip lining
- go skiing
- go bowling
- play table tennis or Ping Pong
“Alphabet Categories” game
Play this game as a family the next time you’re out hiking, biking or playing catch. It also doubles as a boredom buster, so it can be great for road trips!
1. Decide on a category
- for younger kids: first names or fruits and vegetables
- for older kids: cities or countries
2. Take turns coming up with something in the chosen category that starts with each letter of the alphabet. (For instance, in the “fruits and vegetables” category: Apples, Blueberries, Cherries, Dates …)
All together now
Don’t stay motionless while your kids work out. Fitness is for the whole family! From a spontaneous game of backyard tag to an afternoon of geocaching or karate classes three times a week, exercising can allow families to spend their energy and precious time together.