Your kids need exercise outside of their gym classes and recess at school. Children older than six need at least an hour each day of moderate or vigorous physical activity. And you should exercise, too—the Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get 20 minutes each day of moderate exercise or 75 minutes each week of vigorous exercise.
Those minutes add up. It’s hard enough balancing school, work, church, and family time without throwing exercise into the mix. So why not combine exercise and family time and exercise as a family?
Exercising as a family brings you closer together and helps you bond. Instead of working out on your own or sending the kids into the backyard to play, you can do a fun activity together. There are plenty of activities that everyone in your family can enjoy; you just have to try a few and see what works best for you.
By introducing your kids to new activities and different ways to get active, you can excite kids about living a healthy, active lifestyle. Making exercise a priority shows kids it’s an important aspect of your lives, and doing fun family-oriented activities proves that exercise doesn’t have to be boring.
Here’s four ways you can exercise as a family and have fun together:
No matter the weather, bowling is an entertaining activity your entire family can do together. Bowling is easy to learn and helps kids improve their hand-eye coordination. It also tones and strengthens muscles, and most importantly, gets your family off the couch. Plus, bowling is fun! Who doesn’t enjoy putting on bowling shoes, strategically utilizing the bumpers, and competing for the best score?
2. Walks, runs, and races
If you’re particularly motivated and enjoy faster-paced activities, go for runs or walks together as a family. Make it a regular part of your daily or weekly routine to help kids learn that establishing healthy routines can be fun. While you’re walking, talk about your day or weeks, discuss books you’re reading, tell your kids about your job, or play games about the things you see on your walk, like “I Spy” or “20 Questions.” By doing this activity together, you’re showing your kids that exercise is easy to do and doesn’t have to feel like a chore.
If your family enjoys walking or running together, consider working up to participating in a race. For example, we’re hosting our first annual Soaring With Eagles 5K and Family Mile Fun Run and Walk on Sept. 30. Bring your entire family and enjoy walking or running together in the mile fun run and walk. It’s a great way to exercise, socialize with other participants, and show your kids that running and walking doesn’t have to be intense or hard to do.
3. Bike rides
If you’re itching to go farther than you can comfortably walk or run, get on some bikes and go exploring as a family. Biking is a great exercise for improving balance, developing muscles, strengthening hearts and lungs, and building stamina.
Ride around your neighborhood to look around, or think of a fun place to ride to, like a playground or snow cone stand. If you and your kids want to ride somewhere more adventurous than your neighborhood, you can find bike trails online.
Just remember to be safe—teach kids about bike safety, and buy helmets for your kids and you. Modeling proper safety for your kids teaches them that being safe is important.
4. Dance parties
Dance parties are great because 1) they’re free and 2) you can do them any time, any place! You can kick off a dance party with some music and a bit of floor space to move around. Dancing gets your blood pumping, improves your flexibility, and improves your balance; it can even help you lose weight. What’s more, it bonds your entire family over an engaging—and healthy—experience.
Don’t have a CD player, radio, or phone handy to blast some music? Ask your kid think of a song and make up dance moves to it. Have the rest of the family try to guess which song your child is dancing to. Or have a sing-along dance party—pick a family favorite and belt it out while you dance.