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Fun Family Fitness Ideas

Get Healthy Together

-- By Joe Downie, Certified Physical Fitness Instructor
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Here are a few other ideas to get your family focused on fitness:
  • Combine exercise and household chores. On small pieces of paper, write down chores and body weight exercises. Throw the papers into a couple of hats and have everyone pick one of each. Maybe Dad gets to clean the bathroom and do a set of squats every few minutes until he is finished, while one of the children is cleaning the kitchen and doing forward lunges, etc—the combinations are endless. Mix it up with yard work, seasonal chores, and even some aerobic components like jumping rope.
  • Hire a certified personal trainer to design a program for each family member based on their individual needs, and then work out together. If Mom is looking to tone her body and her teenage daughter wants to improve her basketball conditioning, a similar circuit can be set up at home, indoors and outdoors, to achieve both.
  • Have each family member pick an exercise at the beginning of the week and do as many reps as they can. Then train throughout the week with the goal of improving by the weekend. The family member who has the highest percentage increase is rewarded with something small (but motivating). Keep the focus on the fact that everyone is improving.
  • Designate one evening as family fitness night. Each week, a different person designs the family workout that you will all do together. Whether it’s swimming, rollerblading, walking, Frisbee golf, or a two-on-two basketball game—everyone gets to do something they enjoy, and your workout will never become dull.
  • Buy small pieces of equipment to keep around the house. Then make some fitness rules: Exercise during commercials every time you watch TV; stretch before bed each night. Purchase a few inexpensive items (jump rope, resistance bands, stability ball, dumbbells) and rotate them through the house on a daily basis. Treat them as scavenger hunt finds-- if you find the jump rope placed in the garage, you have to use it for one minute. Next time you may find it on the porch, or in the basement.
  • Each week, measure your fitness levels to determine your family’s overall fitness average. Add each person's own calculation of their level of fitness for the week; zero meaning they did nothing, and 7 meaning they exercised daily. Divide the total by the number of family members. Set a goal to average at least a 5 or 6 each week, rewarding the entire family if it's met.
Most of all—make it fun for everyone! In the process, you’ll teach your children about discipline, goal setting, and the importance of not only health, but also family connection.
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About The Author

Joe Downie Joe Downie
Joe, an exercise enthusiast, is a certified physical fitness instructor and high school soccer coach.

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