How to exercise as a family

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Exercise keeps your body flexible, strong and in shape. Physical fitness is important for people of all ages, and having a workout buddy can boost your motivation. This is why working out as a family is great for building healthy habits, as well as increasing your chances of reaching your fitness goals.

Gear up for success

First, make sure you are following the required safety precautions. Stretching and warming up are important in preventing injury. You need to have the right gear and clothing to stay cool and comfortable while working out. Choose the right lightweight compression socks, which should be based on shoe size. Wear clothing designed for breathability, because you’re likely to sweat and need to stay cool. Consider adding ankle weights or wrist weights for a little extra resistance. You don’t have to spend much money to stay in shape. When you are comfortable, you will look forward to the new routine.

Make a plan

Get ready to burn calories and build muscle by getting into the right mindset. Make a fitness plan and follow through with it. Sit down with your family and decide what fitness activities everyone can do together. Create a competition by keeping a record of who did what activities each day, and give an award to the winner at the end of the week or month. Feel free to give more or less points per activity to family members based on size, age and ability. Keep the exercise chart somewhere visible and point out the scores on the chart regularly to cheer on the fitness leader or to gently encourage the low-scoring family member to pick up the pace.

Outdoor activities

For those who enjoy being outdoors, start simple, with regular walks or bike rides in your neighborhood, easy yard work like raking leaves, or making a vegetable garden. There are many fun games you can play outside. Plan a game of flag football, catch, hide-and-seek or hopscotch, or jump rope. If your kids have an expert eye, plan a scavenger hunt or take them to a park for some orienteering. Make a competition-like event out of exercising together. Family-friendly competitive activities for almost any age group might include potato sack races, a mini long jump, or animal-style races, such as bear crawl, bunny hop or crab walk.

Exercise in disguise

Even when you are indoors, there are plenty of activities that get your body moving without much planning. Instead of plopping on the couch to watch TV while dinner is being cooked, challenge your family to a karaoke showdown or dance-off. Put on their favorite music and see what dance moves they can create. Adults can burn extra calories by dancing and singing while doing the dishes. Pick simple chores to make into games for kids, like dusting low to the ground and pretending as if they are saving the dust bunnies. Make TV commercial breaks a time for exercise. Think of fun names for the exercises based on the show you are watching, or play a follow the leader game to get those hands clapping, arms wiggling and feet stomping.

Everyday opportunities

When you are in public, you can work on fitness activities. Park your car further from the store’s entrance so you will have to walk more to get to and from your car. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walking your kids to school, if it is nearby, is a great way to spend time with them and add steps to your routine. Dine at restaurants that serve healthy food and provide play equipment for your kids. This will keep them healthy and entertained.

Get involved

Exercise for a charitable cause. Volunteer as a family at local charities to give to those in need and to get more exercise. Sign up for local events, such as special walks and races that help fund medical research. This will involve weeks of prep exercise so you are ready for race day. Attend local events that require walking. Consider what’s taking place in your local park to celebrate major holidays. Volunteer with your local governmental department that helps to keep parks and roadsides clean. This keeps you in shape, beautifies your town and keeps litter from harming the environment.

Keeping in shape promotes health and prevents disease. You and your family can help motivate each other while getting fit. Exercise doesn’t have to involve going to the gym if you work calorie-burning activities into your everyday tasks. Getting fit now has the added bonus of teaching your kids to live a healthy and active lifestyle so they will build habits to last a lifetime.


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