5 Fun Ways to Get Fit with Your Family
For families that have busy lives and full schedules, it’s easy for fitness to get lost in the shuffle. This is confirmed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which states that more than 80% of adults and adolescents get less than 2½ hours of exercise each week.
But how can families find time and activities to get fit and healthy?
Virtua occupational therapist assistant and certified personal trainer Jason Staffieri offers these 5 tips for creating a plan that will get your whole family up and running.
Set a schedule
The number one excuse is for not exercising is that there isn’t enough time. That’s why making family fitness part of your daily routine is critical. When your day is jam-packed, it’s important to create opportunities to spend time together. Have a dance party as you prepare and clean up from dinner. Schedule a family walk or bike ride after dinner, or go to the park or local playground. Start with three times a week and build from there.
A simple walk in the woods adds an element of exploration to your family fitness plan. Try a nature hike at a nearby forest preserve, have a nature scavenger hunt, volunteer with a conservation group, or pick fruit at your local farm. Even younger kids can discover new worlds in a stroller or carrier. Not only are you being active, you’re connecting with the world and creating memories for a lifetime.
Whether it’s a walk-a-thon, marathon, swim-a-thon, triathlon, mud-run, or obstacle course, there are plenty of competitions to challenge your whole family. When everyone trains together, the whole family is motivated by a shared sense of competition and accomplishment. To find events in your community, visit active.com.
Add push ups into couch potato time
Everyone appreciates some couch time with a favorite TV show, but that doesn’t mean your family has to turn into couch potatoes. Use commercial breaks as an opportunity to exercise. Push-ups, sit-ups, squats, lunges, and body-weight exercises can all be done in your living room. Make it a competition and track each family member’s progress.
Make it fun
Family fitness is about more than exercise; it’s about creating the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. If your plan becomes another chore, it’s not going to work. From the local park, to a family-based fitness program, there are lots of ways to create a plan that works for everyone. Be creative, and remember, family fitness shouldn’t be a “have-to,” it should be a “want-to.”
Visit a Virtua fitness center to talk to a fitness specialist who can help you create a fun, family fitness plan.
Updated August 28, 2019