We all know that exercise is healthy for us at any age, and can help us live long, happy lives. It keeps our bodies functioning and moving about for our daily activities, helps our brains stay sharp, can help us lose or manage our weight, or even improve/prevent chronic diseases. Exercise for some can be daunting, or even time consuming, but I think a great approach is to exercise with your family. Let’s talk about the different ways you can start exercising with your family.
First of all, lets set the stage. Why should you listen to me? I have been involved with exercise since the age of 8. I started out playing softball and played through college always having exercise or physical activity as a part of my life. That doesn’t mean it came easy, it was difficult and not always enjoyable. Some days it just felt like a job. However, I decided to push myself and learn ways to make exercise exciting for myself because I knew the health benefits were so important. So, as a teenager I hired a personal trainer, which then led me to getting a degree specializing in this field.
I got my degree in pre-allied health and rehabilitation with emphasis in personal training. Basically, it just means I understand how the body moves and the best ways to achieve your personal exercise goals. I started working in corporate wellness as a fitness specialist which gave me the opportunity to train all sorts of individuals with specific needs. This is where I started learning that exercise should be fun! It doesn’t look the same for everyone. For some people it could be walking, lifting weights, dancing, gardening, etc. That is why I want to give some tips I have learned with my family of four, and how bringing us all together makes physical activity a fun and enjoyable experience for all of us. Its time to learn how to make exercise fun with your family!
5 ways to exercise with your family:
- Go on walks
- Use a frisbee, soccer ball, tennis racket, kite, bicycle
- Work in your yard (gardening, growing plants, cleaning the leaves or trimming trees)
- Develop a bodyweight exercise routine
- Go Swimming
#1. Go on walks.
This seems easy enough right? For my family of four it has become one of our go-to ways to stay active. We have an 9-month-old and a 2 year old so we can easily put the baby in the stroller and have the toddler walk along side us as she explores the world around us. We may not be getting strenuous exercise, but we are moving and having family time which counts! Walking has been shown to prevent heart disease, improve your mood and strengthen your bones and muscles.
#2. Use a frisbee, soccer ball, tennis racket, kite or bicycle.
All of these are great options for your family to get outside and be active together. They all require movement and will get your heart rate elevated, which is all it takes to burn some calories and keep that body functioning! Plus, your kids will have a blast because its activities they can enjoy and it helps them develop new skills like catching, throwing, kicking, etc.
#3. Working in your yard
This one has become a new favorite of mine. My toddler loves to get her hands dirty so what better activity than picking weeds or planting flowers? You get them squatting, reaching, pulling, and moving up and down. These are all great ways to exercise, and they get to learn how to take care of a yard at the same time!
#4. Develop a bodyweight exercise routine
I think it’s great to have a quick bodyweight exercise routine you can do as a family at the park, or even on a walk where you can stop and do a few movements together. See my favorite bodyweight exercise routine below:
- Jumping Jacks
Do each of these for 30 seconds, rest for 10-15 and repeat 3 times. It will guarantee some laughs and provide some resistance training.
Swimming is the #1 way to exercise because it uses your whole body. You use all your muscles, you get resistance and cardio training, all in one. I HIGHLY recommend this form of exercise to stay active. The best part is that kids LOVE swimming and it wears them out for nap time! So many pros to this kind of physical activity, I am not sure why you wouldn’t start today!
Okay, I have run through my favorite ways to start exercising with your family so you can pick one to try this week and see how it goes. Maybe have your kids pick what is of interest to them so that its more enjoyable for them as well. Just remember to start small and set reasonable goals to achieve and you will be successful.