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Family Fitness Activities: Healthy Fun for Everyone!

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

family fitness

Regardless of the weather or whatever reasons may have you stuck at home, it's always a good time to get the whole family involved in a family fitness plan!

Leading a healthy lifestyle has benefits for all ages, and there are a ton of exercises and activities that can be incorporated into a family fitness plan.

The Physical Activity Guidelines from the American Heart Association recommend that adults do at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity a week or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.

These guidelines are in place because physical activity has a strong and positive impact on blood pressure, blood glucose, and body weight, in addition to decreasing the overall risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.

By adding family fitness and physical activity into your daily life, you can achieve these health goals and spend quality time with your loved ones.

Enjoy quality family time and a healthy lifestyle with these family fitness activities!

 

Get Active Anytime and Anywhere

As far as physical activity guidelines go, you don’t have to spend an hour straight working out. Any amount of physical activity counts towards your weekly totals.

So even short bouts of exercise add up to big fitness goals!

And being active is much more fun when you can enjoy doing activities with your family.

So break up the monotony of your weekly scheduled workouts and add some family fitness into your exercise routine.

Top Family Fitness Activities

Just like with any workout routine, you want to include all aspects of fitness.

This means incorporating strength training, cardio, and stretching and flexibility exercises.

Family Runs or Walks

Get outside and go on a nice walk or jog with the family.

This can be through your neighborhood or you can find some trails nearby.

Walking and running are excellent cardiovascular workouts that will improve overall fitness for the whole family.

One study found that those who walked more than 15,000 steps a day had lower risks of cardiovascular disease compared to those who were less active.

This is even more motivation to enjoy a brisk walk with the family!

Backyard Soccer

You can do just about any sport outdoors with your family in your own backyard.

Grab a soccer ball and set up a couple of nets, or even cones, to make goals.

If you have enough people you can set up teams and have a full-on game. Or, you can just practice dribbling and shooting while running around the backyard and working up a sweat.

Soccer is another great cardio workout that also improves coordination and leg strength.

And, by adding in some friendly family competition, it is an activity that can be loads of fun!

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Family Hikes

Hiking is an excellent workout for the whole family.

Try to find some trails nearby and get everyone out for the day to explore.

Not only does hiking have amazing health benefits, but it also will introduce your family to all that nature has to offer.

Hiking builds cardiovascular fitness, along with lower body and core strength.

Plus, hiking on more technical trails will improve your balance and coordination.

Outdoor Races

Race individually or as teams if you have a bigger family.

You can set up cones or sticks in the backyard to mark off a course.

You can do a simple running race, or add some variety by adding in skips, jumps, or shuffling.

Here is a fun example of a backyard race to encourage family fitness:

Set up a cone or another marker as far out as you’d like to race. The race will involve each family member running to the marker and then back.

If you are using teams, you can tag the next person to go and complete their leg of the race.

  • Leg 1: Run out to the cone and then skip back
  • Leg 2: Bear crawl out to the cone, then shuffle sideways back
  • Leg 3: High knees run out to the cone, then run backward back
  • Leg 4: Two footed hops out to the cone, then sprint back

This is a fun workout that will add in some great cardio to your day. Plus, the different movements will encourage balance, stability, and give you an awesome core workout as well!

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Resistance and Weight Training

When people think about family fitness, they often think of outdoor activities and games.

However, resistance training is also a great family activity and a wonderful way to introduce your kids to structured workouts.

If you have a gym membership and your kids are old enough you can show them the proper way to use the equipment and maintain proper form.

Or, if you are working out at home you can use some dumbbells or resistance bands for weight training workouts. And don’t forget bodyweight resistance training as well!

Start with some of these simple exercises for the family:

Body Weight Exercises

  • Push-Ups
  • Air Squats
  • Lunges
  • Tricep Dips

Resistance Bands or Dumbbell Exercises

  • Bicep Curls
  • Shoulder Press
  • Chest Press
  • Squats

You can also make this a fun family competition by writing down how much weight and the number of reps performed. Keep track of this over time and try to improve every week.

 

Family Yoga Workouts

Just like you don’t typically think of lifting weights as a family activity, yoga may not pop into your head immediately when trying to pick something for family fitness.

But balance and flexibility are extremely important aspects of fitness, and introducing your kids to this at an early age can have major health benefits.

In addition, yoga has been found to be beneficial for children's mental health and cognition. This is just another reason to include yoga into your family fitness schedule.

Start out with some breathing exercises. You can then move on to stretching and flexibility.

Once everyone is comfortable with that, try to incorporate some beginner balance poses.

Yoga Breathing Workout

Deep breathing is a good introduction to yoga breathing.

It helps to relieve stress and the feeling of shortness of breath by preventing air from getting trapped in your lungs and helping you to breathe in more fresh air. It may help you to feel more relaxed and centered.

  • While standing or sitting, draw your elbows back slightly to allow your chest to expand.
  • Take a deep inhalation through your nose.
  • Retain your breath for a count of five.
  • Slowly release your breath by exhaling through your nose.

Your kids may think this is a little silly at first. But it can really teach them to focus on their breathing, which they can carry into other workouts.

 

Yoga Flexibility Poses

Forward Fold

  • Hinge forward at your hips.
  • Bend forward and bring your head towards the ground.
  • Hold for five breaths, then hinge at the hips to come back to the standing position.

Cat-Cow

  • Begin on your hands and knees.
  • Inhale and lift your hips upward.
  • Press your chest forward and allow your stomach to sink.
  • Lift your head and relax your shoulders away from your ears. This is known as the cow pose.
  • Then, to come into cat pose, round your spine and tuck in your tailbone while bringing your head toward the floor.
  • Continue to alternate cow and cat pose five times for each.

Cobra Stretch

  • Lie face down, with your hands by your shoulders as if you were doing a pushup.
  • Push your torso up as far as possible or until your hips begin to come off the floor.
  • Hold for five deep breaths then lower back down.
  • Repeat one to two more times.

Downward Dog

  • Start in a plank position.
  • Bring your hips up into the air so that your body is in an upside-down V position.
  • Try to keep your heels as close to the ground as possible.
  • Hold for five full breaths.
  • Come back into a plank position.
  • Then repeat one to two times.

Yoga Balance Poses

Tree Pose

  • Stand upright and shift your weight into your right foot while lifting your left foot off the floor.
  • Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot high onto your inner right thigh.
  • Take 5-10 breaths, then lower your left foot to the floor and repeat on the other side.

Chair Pose

  • Begin with your feet about hip-distance apart.
  • Bring your arms overhead with your palms facing one another and bend your knees, as if you are sitting on a chair.
  • Bring your thighs as close to parallel with the floor.
  • Hold the pose for five deep breaths.
  • To come out of the pose, straighten your legs and bring your arms to your sides.

Warrior One

  • Stand upright and step your right foot forward about four feet.
  • With your toes pointing to the top of the mat, bend your knee into a lunge.
  • Keep your left leg straight behind you and turn your left heel in at about 45 degrees.
  • Raise your arms straight above your head, keeping your shoulders pressed down.
  • Lift your chin to look at your hands overhead.
  • Hold for 5-10 breaths, then repeat on the left side.

These fun yoga poses will increase strength, flexibility, balance, and bring calmness to your family workouts!

 

Family Fun and Fitness

Now is the perfect time for the whole family to get in shape together!

It is also a great opportunity to keep up with your workouts while also spending quality time with your whole family.

The Fit Mother Project is all about leading a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating exercises that everyone can enjoy will keep the whole family following a healthy way of living!

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on family fitness.

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