Fitness Articles

Outdoor Adventures Fit for Families

Get Out & Get Active as a Family

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Take a trip to the playground. While some kids are fortunate enough to have a large play set in their own backyards, many parks and playgrounds can still put those larger-than-life toys to shame. Kids of all ages enjoy climbing, sliding, hanging, and balancing across these big obstacle-course sets made of wood, plastic, and even steel. It can be a fun time (and a good workout) for the whole family. Parents and teenagers can get involved with the younger family members by chasing them and playing other spontaneous games. Even adults can turn these jungle gyms into their own personal gyms. Here's how:
  • Step up and down on the stairs, just like you would on a stair-stepper machine.
  • Hang from a high bar and work on pull ups (with an overhand grip) and chin ups (with an underhand grip).
  • Hang from a high bar and lift your knees into your chest to work your abs. For a more advanced option, keep your legs straight as you lift them parallel to the ground.
  • Find a step or level that's about six to 12 inches above ground level. With your hands on the step, face away from it to perform triceps dips.
  • On a sturdy wall, place your hands shoulder-width apart and do some chest-strengthening wall pushups.
Host your own family fun day. Who needs to wait for the annual company picnic to enjoy some healthy grilling and outdoor fun? Start your own fit family day with your household members, extended family and relatives, or even your neighbors and friends. Plan some family-friendly games and activities that will get everyone involved. Don't forget to serve healthy foods and plenty of ice cold water. Here are some fit family ideas to get you started:
  • A mini basketball, softball, t-ball or sand volleyball tournament
  • Wheelbarrow, relay, and 3-legged races
  • Softball or Frisbee throwing competitions (for distance)
  • Mid-distance races
  • Swimming races and diving contests
  • Capture the flag or hide-and-go-seek

Most of all—make fitness 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

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • TMOORE I agree with you. I love to chop wood. Mow the yard. Go out into my garden plant stuff and wait to see it grow and then I can pick it. - 9/21/2013 8:35:00 PM
  • Funny thing about a park as your own gym. It can creep out the mom's of the toddlers who are there if you are there without any kids. I know one guy who was doing his chin ups, etc. A child asked him for some help on the bars. He helped and the mom rushed him screaming at him to stay away from her child and that she was going to call the police on him for being a pedaphile. So.. beware if you don't have a child with you, don't talk to the kids there without their adult's permission.
    - 5/27/2010 3:33:17 PM
  • For every family event I have at my home I now try to incorporate some kind of physical activity, or they'll just sit & eat & drink & I worry about them all. A few weeks ago was my daughter's birthday, so I created Championship charts for all kinds of activities - Wii Sports, DDR, push-ups & exercise band/weights, board games, thumb wrestling, badminton, and whatever any of the guests wanted to challenge someone else too. No prizes for no participation. I guess it was successful.. hard to tell with those lazy bums! (Regifting works well for prizes, too, as long as you don't re-gift something one of your guests gave you!) - 6/18/2009 11:15:22 AM
  • Couldn't agree more! Trampolines are great (and exhausting). I also like to chop wood with my sons, everyone has fun and gets a good workout. - 12/17/2008 2:53:00 PM
  • Buying a trampoline was the best thing I did for my kids to go outside and exercise. They wore out two big ones over the years. - 6/29/2008 10:56:05 PM
  • Want a great outdoor activity to do with your kids? Try Geocaching! I plan to start this summer with my girls. People all over the world hide "boxes" with trinkets and notes in them. If you go to you can find them near your home or vacation spot. You need a GPS unit to track them down but its a great investment for an activity the whole family can do together! - 3/26/2008 1:08:31 PM
  • this is a great article. It is important for the whole family to get exercise and also have fun at the same time .Plus for free if needed.
    Travis07 - 3/3/2008 5:52:14 PM

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