Updated: Jan 28
Who's motivated to exercise when it isn't any fun? Not me.
Here are some really fun ideas that your whole family will love!
Family Free Running.
This can be done in the city or in a park. Use whatever's available to you. It can work if you want it to. Start out together and stay within eyesight of each other at all times. Safety's always the first consideration so adjust your limits to your family's abilities and talk about what's OK and not OK before you go. Then, start with the idea that each family member finds fun challenges to get their heart rates up.
So if you see a stairway, go up and down it, if you see a curb, jump over it and back several times. If you see a railing, hang from it. A bench can be used a body stretcher, a stop sign can be a pole to swing around. You can copy each other or do your own tricks. Cartwheels, running up grassy hills and rolling down them are great things to try. Playgrounds can be really awesome, too!
This is great for rainy days but can also be done outdoors on a nice day. First of all, one family member has to quiz all of the others on their favorite dance songs and write them down. Someone else can be in charge of setting up the music and you'll also need a DJ during the party. Then everybody dances to everybody's favorites and gets as silly as they feel like being. Only allow for short breathers between songs and see if you can keep it up for 1/2 hour or so.
Walk With a Purpose
Take a family walk with a destination in mind. Playgrounds and parks work well and so do stores, malls, libraries and museums. Let a different family member pick the destination each time
Bike to music
Take a family bike ride and make the destination a musical event. It could be a city festival, a coffee shop, karaoke or music of any kind. Once again let family members take turns picking the music and practice appreciation and tolerance for each other's tastes.
Make it a bigger physical challenge than usual by biking or walking to a lake or a pool as a family. Do this on a hot day and it's particularly rewarding but even a trek to an indoor pool in winter can be a lot of fun.
Make your TV viewing time count as exercise with this one. Everyone in the family has to agree on a 1/2 hour show and once you get that settled, it's easy as pie. During all commercials, all players get to choose between running up and down stairs, jump roping in place or running in place. Other activities can be substituted according to the abilities of players as long as they're agreed on beforehand. During the show itself, all players have to do some kind of yoga, pilates or stretching activity. You just might get some healthy laughs in on top of all the exercise, too. For an added challenge, try an hour long show!
Saturday Morning Cleaning Frenzy
Your first challenge is to find some music that everyone in the family can at least tolerate. Then assign one room (or outdoor area) to each family member and set a timer for 27 minutes. Work at your fastest speed possible and see how much of a difference you can make cleaning your room in that time. When the timer goes off, show each other what you've done and spend some time relaxing together. You deserve it!
Nanci J Bradley is a child and family educator, author, family aerobics instructor, Energy Tune-Up facilitator and all around fun loving person who believes in the power of sleep, lifelong learning, healthy weight, energy and more than anything else, PLAY! She studied early childhood education at Triton College, received her BA in education from NIU in 1986 and her MA from Pacific Oaks in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison, WI.