Getting yourself to work out can be hard enough, but getting your kids to get moving with you can feel like even more of a challenge. Thankfully, staying active as a family doesn’t always have to involve dragging everyone to the gym with you. Coming up with activities that everyone can enjoy together will help encourage your family to stay active. This will not only help improve everyone’s health, but it can also create some fun opportunities to bond.
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“The list of benefits that come from exercising as a family is long,” says Trainer Corey Phelps. “The benefits range from strengthened family bonds, improved communication, building a solid foundation for a lifetime of healthy habits, and just having overall fun. Exercise, in general, promotes the release of endorphins and encourages feelings of happiness. So it isn’t surprising that exercising as a family would develop a deeper sense of connection and joy within the family unit. This is all on top of the physical health benefits we all reap from exercise.”
Staying active as a family can also set some lifelong habits for your kids. You’re showing them that you value a healthy lifestyle and are encouraging them to incorporate physical activity in their future. It’s also an inexpensive way to create a consistent family routine and give something for your family to look forward to participating in together.
Being active as a family can be a challenge, especially with everyone’s hectic schedules. But there are still plenty of ways that you can make sure that you and your family are fitting in some activity together. Here are six attainable, enjoyable, and good for you ways to stay active as a family.
Take a walk or explore a new neighborhood.
Taking a walk together is not only a great way to stay active as a family, but it also provides an opportunity to engage in some quality conversation. Go for a walk around your block, or pick a new neighborhood to explore. “Make it a scavenger hunt to introduce your kids to different unique places in your area,” says Trainer Meghan Kennihan. “It gives them a mission and something to look forward to doing.”
Do an outdoor activity.
For a low-cost, stress-relieving activity, consider doing something outside. “Running, hiking, walking, biking, and swimming are great outdoor activities to participate in as a family,” says Phelps. “Being outdoors is always therapeutic, and participating in activities together ups the benefits.” Even just five minutes of outdoor exercise can improve mood and self-esteem, and everyone in the family could use a happiness boost.
Doing a team sport together can help keep things interesting, while also improving the family’s communication and bonding. “Soccer, basketball, volleyball, or baseball are great team sports to try out together,” says Phelps. “You don’t have to be able to field a whole team to play them either.”
Have a dance party.
Working out doesn’t have to feel so serious. Turning on some music and busting out the moves can still count as family activity. “Turn on your Alexa and say ‘Dance Party’ and go crazy,” says Kennihan. “Do the ‘Sprinkler,’ ‘Running Man,’ [or] ‘Churn the Butter.’ Embarrass yourselves! You will be on the floor laughing and creating memories for a lifetime.”
Create weekly goals to help you stay active as a family and create an incentive for your kids to stay on top of physical activity. For example, set a family step goal. “Everyone has step trackers these days, set a goal for the entire family for the week or the month, and when the goal is achieved, have a reward,” says Kennihan. “Maybe a trip to the local ice cream shop or [to] buy some fun ribbons or medals online to hand out. If you have older kids, make it a competition. Whoever gets the most steps at the end of the month gets a prize.”
Get another family involved.
To keep things fresh, you can always invite other friends or extended family members to join in on the fun. “Find another family in the neighborhood and play a childhood game like kickball, foursquare, capture the flag, or tag,” says Kennihan. “Pitting the families against each other strengthens each individual bond even more.”