The most important thing while moving with the whole family, is to HAVE FUN! If exercising together is enjoyable, it will be easier to do on a regular basis and more sustainable for the long term. Being physically active as a family creates positive memories, teaches healthy habits and creates family bonding. Exercise improves overall health as well as helps to increase self-confidence and reduce feelings of anxiety. Make it a priority to schedule your physical activities as a family every week, otherwise your grand plans of creating healthy habits and memories will get pushed aside.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends that in order to get significant health benefits from exercise, adults should do 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise, or a combination of both spread throughout the week. Children ages 6 to 17 should achieve 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. You don’t want this to become cumbersome if one weekly family activity is all that your family can do then do it. Being able to do ONE physical activity as a family is better than NONE.
Here are 12 Activities to get the whole family moving without making it feel like a chore.
- Walk the dog: Carve out one to three 15 minutes intervals when you and your family can walk the dog throughout the day or alternate days. There you go, 30-45 minutes of walking completed!
- Take a walk or bike ride after dinner: After dinner take a walk or bike ride as a family. Physical activity after a meal helps to rev up your metabolism and helps with digestion. Some sort of activity for at least 15 minutes after a meal helps to manage blood sugars too.
- Make chores a game: See who can clean their room the fastest, who can put the most groceries away in one minute, who can put away the most toys.
- Find a trail and take an adventure hike or bike: Explore nature around you. Breathe in the fresh air. Enjoy conversations with your family.
- Have a dance party in the back yard while the weather permits, then move it inside: Blast that fun dance music or whatever type of music that gets you moving and grooving. You don’t have to be a fabulous dancer, just make up the moves as you go and you will get an all-around good work-out.
- Turn TV commercials into exercise breaks: At each commercial break have one family member be the leader of the exercise session and call out the exercise. The whole family will do the exercise together until the show comes back on. Exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks or squats are some great options.
- Train for a family 3k walk or run for charity: What a great way to exercise, burn calories and give back to the community. There are many virtual events happening around the world.
- Yoga: Yoga is a great way to spend time together as a family as well as reap benefits like helping with stress management, improving sleep and reducing anxiety.
- Play video games that make you active: If your family is big into gaming try some games that make you move like Dance Revolution, Just Dance and Wii Fit. While playing any video game, when your turn is over, do 10 sit-ups and 10 pushups each time. This keeps you moving and burning calories.
- Do seasonal yard work together: Younger family members can help plant and take care of the garden and older family members can pull weeds or rake leaves and everyone can have fun jumping in them. When it comes time for winter, shoveling snow can become a family affair.
- Play a game of laser tag or good old fashion tag: You can burn calories and move without even realizing it because of all the fun you will have. Repeated short bursts of activity help to burn more calories too.
- Plan a multi-family baseball, volleyball or kickball game: Planning a multi-family game creates fun-filled memories for everyone as well as it is a great way to get moving and burn some calories.
Making an average every-day activity something more of a bonding experience with family not only improves your overall health but it sets the path for creating healthy habits for everyone as well as making a lifetime of memories. In fact, my son and I went on a 3 mile walk with my mom this weekend. Our first walk since before the pandemic began. It was special and a memory we won’t forget. If you can, I challenge you to try and find time to plan for 3 to 5 physical activities that you and your family can do together in a week. If you are new to exercise, start slowly to avoid burnout and injury, and consult your physician. Make sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Even better, you can add Great Lakes Gelatin Company’s Collagen Endurance Plus or Flavored Collagen Hydrolysate to your water to support post-workout recovery and to help support joint health. Here’s to you and your family’s health!
- S. Department of Health & Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. Nor is it intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a medical professional. Individual results may vary.