”Q: Our family is committed to improving our health. What exercises or activities can we do?
Reading time: 5 Minutes
- Learn about the benefits of exercise and plenty of exercise ideas for the whole family.
- There are many benefits of exercise, to include improved memory, improved mood and reduced anxiety, reduced risk of chronic disease, and fulfillment from family bonding time.
- You can find several different activities for the whole family to do together, some of which include:
- Family bike ride or trip to the park
- Making exercise into a game
- Build a home gym
Exercise Benefits for Your Family
- A study at the University of British Columbia found that anaerobic exercise improves verbal memory and thinking.
Improves Mood and Reduces Anxiety
- Five minutes after moderate exercise many people feel a boost in mood. Research shows that these feelings can have long-term effects. One study found that exercise and antidepressants were comparable forms of treatment for alleviating major depressive disorder.
- Another study found that exercise can reduce anxiety sensitivity and could help ward off panic attacks.
Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular and Other Chronic Diseases
- Studies have shown that physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and several other chronic conditions, including diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, and osteoporosis.
The Importance of Family Fitness
Stay Healthy Together
- Build healthy habits in your child by getting active with them at a young age. You can all enjoy the health benefits mentioned above by working out together.
Enjoy Family Bonding Time
- Between school, work, and playdates it can be hard to fit family time and physical activity into your family’s busy schedule. Active play helps strengthen family bonds that are crucial for your child’s social and emotional development. Plus, you all get the daily exercise you need at the same time!.
20 Active Workout Activities for Your Family
1. Make it a game.
Create a deck of fitness exercise cards using standard playing cards. Hearts stand for push-ups, clubs for crunches, diamonds for jumping jacks, and spades for squats. Let your child pick the card, then do as many of the assigned activities as the card states. For example, an ace of spades would be one squat and a six of hearts would be six pushups.
2. Play Follow the Leader.
Take turns leading the other through a series of exercises (skipping, hopping, marching, etc.). Or take turns being the “coach” and telling the “athlete” what to do.
3. Go for a walk.
You can build walks into your daily schedule before or after dinner. If you have younger children, let them alternate between riding in the stroller or wagon and walking. Make it fun by taking your dogs. Or switch it up by going on a hike with your older children.
4. Take a bike ride.
Go to the library, grocery store, or the park. Once at the park, you can enjoy a picnic or another active activity like playing frisbee or flying kites. Keep in mind the distance you’re riding and turn around before your child gets tired — to avoid carrying a bike and a child back home. If your child wants to try something different, use scooters or roller skates instead of bikes.
5. Head to the playground.
Monkey bars, rock climbing walls, swings, and more await at your local playground. Whether you play “Lava” or just play around, the park is an excellent location for getting active.
6. Rainy day?
Go bowling! Even little ones can bowl using bumpers and a bowling ramp. Or hone their skills at home with a foam or plastic bowling set.
7. Play sports in your backyard.
Play with your family or other kids in the neighborhood. Basketball, soccer, baseball, and flag football are all fun choices. If you don’t have enough players, adapt the game, work on sport-specific skills (like throwing or dribbling), or find more players at a community center. If you find a sport your child loves, consider coaching the team to combine family time and exercise.
8. Play outdoors.
Make time to play classic outdoor games. Hide and seek, kick the can, kickball, hopscotch, tag, jump rope, and other childhood games are all active games that you can introduce to your kids.
9. Have a dance party!
Blast the music and start dancing around the family room. Add a disco ball for ambiance or mix it up with freeze dance. If your family loves dancing, try a formal dance class. Some studios offer family dance classes. Or take an adult class at the same time as your child’s class and teach each other the moves at home.
Stick with a classic option and head out into the backyard to play catch. If your child needs more practice, start standing close together and take a step back every time your child makes a successful catch.
11. Be adventurous!
If your family doesn’t have a favorite fitness activity, try a new activity once a week. Whether it’s ice skating, rock climbing, or going on a hike, it’s a great way to mix it up and find something you all enjoy.
12. Schedule something.
If you do better with a set schedule, try a fitness class. It builds exercise into your family’s weekly schedule and gives beginners clear instructions to follow. Looking for ideas to get started? Try Zumba, yoga, kickboxing, or martial arts.
13. Home gym.
If you’re not ready to take little ones to the gym and keep them from climbing on fitness equipment, create your own home gym. Introduce them to kid-friendly exercise equipment like light free weights, latex free resistance bands (the CLX has loops that are perfect for little hands to hold), exercise balls, and simple exercises instead.
14. Go for a swim!
Whether you’re outside at the beach or indoors at the Y, swimming is a great choice for a low-impact workout. Splash around, teach your child how to swim, play Marco Polo, or swim laps.
15. Water everything!
Go beyond swimming with fun water activities. Whether you’re canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, water skiing, wakeboarding, or tubing, you’re sure to have a fun time.
16. Easy outdoor games.
Play some outdoor games to stay active. Croquet, bocce ball, horseshoes, and ring toss are all easy games that can be played by a variety of ages.
17. Go mini-golfing.
Start teaching your child basic golfing skills in a fun environment with mini-golf. When your child’s ready, move on to practicing at the driving range or playing golf on a real course.
18. Make chores an active game.
Save the world by sweeping away dust bunnies with a broom or chasing them away with the vacuum. Have your children save their stuffed animals from “floor lava” by racing to put them away and clean up their room.
Stay fit as a family by running a 5k. At 3.1 miles, most 7-10-year-olds can walk/run a 5k. Check out fun versions like color runs, glow runs, and 5ks at Disney to get your child more excited about running.
20. Active chores!
Get some help with yard work by asking your children to pitch in. Raking leaves, planting and tending a garden, and shoveling snow all get your heart rate up while checking off items on your family’s to-do list.