Fitness ideas for the entire family

Exercising as a family benefits everyone. As you work toward your own fitness goals, you set an excellent example for your children of committing to their own physical activity. So get creative and find ways to be active together, from playing tag with your toddler to rock climbing with your teen.

By Danielle P. Johnson, P.T.

If you're a parent, getting into the habit of exercising as a family will benefit both you and your children. As you work toward your own fitness goals, you'll set an excellent example for your children of committing to their own physical activity.

Want to make exercise and family time a top priority? You can do both — just combine the two to maximize your time. In fact, merging the two is a necessity for many busy parents. Here are some ideas for incorporating physical activity at every stage of your kids' lives.

Toddlers to preschoolers

Acknowledge and take advantage of the fact that your child is now on the move.

  • Explore a playground where you can run with your child. Remember, you can play on the playground equipment, too! If your child wants to swing, use that time to get in a few squats and lunges. If the playground has a jungle gym, try some pullups, chin-ups or pushups.
  • Play active games such as soccer, football or tag.
  • Make up your own family game that involves a unique combination of jumping, sprinting, lunging, squatting and crawling. You'll get your heart rate up and incorporate some body weight resistance exercise.
  • Create a scavenger hunt and race your child to finish the tasks.

School-age kids

Explore the world with your child. Get involved in the things they enjoy doing.

  • Take a walk or hike in nature. Not only will you all get great exercise, but without any electronics around, your child might enjoy talking to you.
  • Invest in bikes and explore your city or town for new routes. Ride your bike or walk to lunch or dinner with the family.
  • Dance. Just do it — let loose with your kids, have fun and get some great aerobic activity. Put on music your kids like (or some old-school rock they will laugh at) and get moving.
  • Swim. When you go to the pool with your children, get in. Running in the shallow end and swimming in a pool are great ways to combine aerobic activity with family fun.
  • Get involved in a sport that your kids can enjoy, such as tennis, basketball or soccer.
  • Plan vacations in destinations that encourage outdoor activities. Find a vacation spot where you can ski, hike, surf or go rock climbing.

Wherever you go, look for opportunities to add more physical activity to your family life. You'll enjoy time with each other and set your children up with healthy habits for the future.

Experiments

Try these suggestions to create family fitness fun.

  1. Sit down with your kids and make a family activity plan.
  2. Head outdoors for some exercise two times this week.
  3. Try a family yoga session.
Jan. 01, 2017 See more In-depth

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