Family Fitness Ideas

If you’re like many people, you’re sometimes at a loss about how to improve your family’s fitness. It’s easy to settle down in front of the television with snacks or skip exercise sessions to do something more “interesting,” but that certainly isn’t going to help your family reach fitness goals. Try a few of the following ideas to get your family (and yourself) back on track to fitness and health.

Exercise Together

First, find ways for your family to exercise together. You might go on family walks or bike rides in a nearby park, for example, or spend time at a gym that offers fitness options for every age group. Even your backyard can turn into a great place for family exercise. Put up a badminton net, or create an open space for games of tag. Buy some new baseball gloves, and play catch, or if you have enough space, invite friends and neighbors over for a game. You could even put up a basketball hoop on your garage.

Encourage Physical Activities

Also, encourage family members to pursue physical activities even on their own. Get the kids involved in sports at school or in the community, for example. Some may be interested in team sports. Others might like to take gymnastics, dance or ice skating lessons. Then remind your kids to practice regularly. This might be the challenging part, but you could always practice with them, and this will get you moving, too.

Even if your kids do not participate in organized activities, you can still give them a nudge to get up and get moving by setting up times for them to play outside or visit the local park. You might even give them some yard work or household chores to do.

Stick to a Schedule

Your family will do better at physical activity if you stick to a schedule. To start, make exercise a regular part of your day. Mark down a time for it in your calendar, and then keep the appointment. Your family will notice you doing this and hopefully join in. You should also schedule family exercise times as well as the kids’ practices and games. If you remain organized, you’ll be more likely to remain active.

Make Goals

Your family’s fitness can flag a bit if you don’t have something to work toward. So make goals. These might include increasing activity or exercise time each month, losing weight for some family members or building strength and flexibility. Encourage each other as you pursue these objectives. They can draw you closer together as a family even as they help you get healthier and more active.

Track Progress

Find fun ways to track your progress, too. If someone in the family has a weight loss goal, for instance, keep a chart, and celebrate each milestone (but not with pizza and milkshakes!). You might even set a family fitness goal that works toward a particular item or outing your family really wants. If everyone participates in a minimum amount of activity each day for a month, for example, then your family can attend a Major League baseball game. Keep rewards within your budget, but do make them special.

Be Flexible

Finally, be flexible about your family’s fitness. While it is important to have good health, you shouldn’t make it the end all of family life. Rather, incorporate it as one of your family’s many interests and hobbies. If you push too hard, you may actually turn your family members away from fitness. So if something interesting comes up once in a while, skip an exercise session. Let your kids take a little break now and then. If you miss a fitness goal, set a new one that’s more realistic and try again. This way the whole family will be more comfortable and more likely to stay fit.

Family fitness should be fun, and if you exercise together, encourage physical activity, stick to a schedule, make goals, track progress and remain flexible, it will be.

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