Just like agreeing on the movie to watch on family night, finding time to keep everyone active and healthy seems like a daunting task. When you’re struggling to maintain your own healthy habits, you may find relief in encouraging activities that fit within your daily routine. We’ve found eight family workouts that keep everyone moving, and you may have so much fun that you even forget you’re getting a workout!
1. Take a walk or hike
The easiest and most affordable way to burn calories is to move your feet. No matter where you live – a dense, urban area or way out in the country – you always have the option of going for a walk, and children of all ages can walk along too. Although you might not think you “worked out” unless you are drenched in sweat and gasping for air, the Mayo Clinic confirms that walking can help maintain a healthy weight, lower risk of heart disease, decrease blood pressure and improve your mental health. Consider taking your walks a half hour after dinner, which according to the fitness experts at LiveStrong.com, “decreases the amount of sugar and fats that accumulate in the blood after eating, especially when they originate from foods high in protein or carbohydrates.”
2. Enjoy a bike ride
When winter fades and spring is in full bloom, it’s time to pull the bikes out of the garage and get them ready for the road. Bike riding offers health benefits for every family member, while giving you the opportunity to explore further. Need to go to the grocery store? Consider getting a basket or bike rack and making it a family trip. Take a ride to your favorite coffee shop on Saturday morning, or to one of your favorite neighborhood restaurants. Biking instead of driving is a great way to offset the carbon footprint.
Biking is one of the best ways to explore parks and trails near your home, but what if you want to take a trip to a state or national park in the future? Consider purchasing a bike rack or carrier for your car so you can take your bikes on the road. Many popular bike rack models have capacity to carry up to four bikes.
Before hitting the road, you’ll want to make sure your bike is in good shape. Most bike maintenance can be done with basic tools you already have. But if you feel more comfortable taking it to a pro, bike shops offer seasonal tune-ups for a nominal fee. Make sure that you have a well-fitting helmet, and if you plan on riding at night, front and rear lights.
3. Dive in for some swimming
Beat the heat in a cool swimming pool for some exercise you won’t realize you’re doing. Divide into teams for a friendly game of water volleyball or basketball or play keep-a-way with a frisbee or tennis ball. With easy challenges like who can swim to the far end of the pool, touch the wall and swim back again or a cannonball competition for who can make the biggest splash, all you’ll be thinking about when it’s time to get out of the water was how much fun you had, not the calories burned.
4. Get out in the garden
Let’s face it, with limited time in the day why not knock out two chores at once? Did you know that mowing for 30 minutes can burn between 135 to 200 calories depending on your weight? But before you fire up the riding mower, remember this only applies to push mowers.
Gardening is another great way to involve the whole family. Take a trip to your garden center and let everyone pick a few things they want to plant. Everyone can help prepare the garden for the season by helping pull weeds, move mulch and fertilizer and finally plant their pick of flowers, herbs, fruits or vegetables. Caring for the garden can be a family activity, and not only will you get moving, but you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
5. Hop, skip and a jump rope
A jump rope is one of the smallest and most effective pieces of workout equipment. You can get a great family workout in just 15 minutes by combining jump rope with body weight resistance. Have a competition and see who in the family can jump the longest. If you have two jump ropes, try Double Dutch.
6. Build an obstacle course
There’s a reason why American Ninja Warrior is one of the highest-rated TV shows. Who doesn’t love watching the contestants make their way through the gauntlet of obstacles for the chance to win a million dollars? So why not build an obstacle course at home? Let your kids be creative with finding materials to build the course like balance beams, slides, hurdles, tunnels or ladders.
7. Just Dance
If you or the kids have the energy, but can’t seem to find an outlet, find a playlist on YouTube, Spotify or Apple Music and crank it up. Let each family member choose songs to create your family playlist. Or attend a “live” experience from artists and DJs livestreaming sets from their home on Instagram, Facebook and Twitch. Transform your living room or backyard into a dance party with virtual kangaroos with the San Diego Zoo’s app Danceabout Australia. You can also take photos and videos to share with friends.
8. Streaming P.E. Classes
With numerous fitness studios offering their classes online, you can find plenty of fitness videos geared towards kids too. Joe Wicks, a fitness guru who started posting recipe videos on social media now posts “P.E. With Joe” video workouts that he developed for his own children stay active. So far, he has posted a new video each weekday since late March. You likely won’t see a Peloton instructor in a costume, but Joe has fun with his Friday workouts by dressing up in costumes like a frog or Spiderman. Who says workout clothes have to be boring?
Staying active is an important part of a healthy, balanced life for both adults and children. But it’s also important to have some fun while you do it. Hopefully these suggestions will help kick start your family workout routine, give you ways to vary your current routine or spark your imagination and inspire you to come up with your own.