Fun Family Fitness

Statistics show that the number of people who are overweight is on the rise in America, both in children and adults. According to the American Heart Association, 9 million children and adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight, and a staggering 142 million adults age 20 and older are overweight.1,2

With schedules that are often jam-packed juggling work, family engagements, household duties and social commitments, it can be hard to find time to get in a good workout. Engaging in physical activity as a family is a great way to share some quality family time while also keeping everyone in the family healthy and fit. It’s also an opportunity for you to forget about the stresses of daily life and unleash your inner child. So choose an activity you all enjoy, and get moving!

Here are some fun ideas to help get you started:

  • Turn up the tunes and bust a move with a family dance off. Dancing not only releases mood-enhancing endorphins, but is also a great form of exercise. Teach your kids some moves from when you were growing up — Cabbage Patch anyone? Each family member can create their own dance routine to teach to the rest of the family, or hold a contest for the best routine!
  • Turn household chores into a contest. Who doesn’t enjoy a little friendly competition? Have some fun and take care of mundane household chores in one shot with a household Olympics competition. Who can vacuum a room the fastest? Who can rake the most leaves in 2 minutes?
  • Go for a walk together. To keep things interesting, let a different family member choose your path for each walk. Take the opportunity to explore your surroundings, discover various forms of plant life, or just take the time to chat and catch up on each other’s day.
  • Play a game of tag. When was the last time you ran until you were out of breath, just for fun? Relive this classic game from your childhood, and enjoy the simple pleasure of running without focusing on how far you’ve run or how many calories you’ve burned.
  • Take up a sport. Sports are a great way to stay in shape, and the options are virtually limitless. Shoot around the basketball court at the park, go for a swim at the local pool, play a match of tennis, go ice skating, or invite some friends to the park and play a game of softball.
  • Coach your child’s sports team. Not only will you have a chance to bond with your child and teach them important life lessons about teamwork and good sportsmanship, but you’ll also get a good workout running after a group of kids.
  • Join a class together. Many community centers, YMCA locations and local organizations offer classes that are open to multiple age groups, from yoga to martial arts. So pick an activity you’ll all enjoy and learn together!
  • References:
    1NHANES [2003-2004], NCHS; JAMA 2006;295:1549-55.
    2NHANES [2001-2004], NCHS. Health, United States, 2006.

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