Staying Active Together: 5 of the Best Family Fitness Activities
Exercise is a vital part of staying healthy for people of all ages. Keeping fit helps to keep your heart and lungs healthy, strengthen your bones and muscles, and fend off many illnesses and diseases. Building good habits early in life can also help to set your children up for living a healthy lifestyle as they grow into adulthood.
One of the best ways to instill good habits is to make fitness an enjoyable activity that you engage in as a family. That’s why we’ve put together a few suggestions for activities that are so much fun, you’ll barely notice that you’re exercising.
Go for a Walk
Don’t underestimate the power of walking for fitness. Walking increases your heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and improves blood flow. Adding more walking into your life will almost always benefit your health.
The suggested figure of 10,000 steps (around 5 miles for an average adult) per day is somewhat arbitrary and will not be realistic for everyone. But if you can afford it, why not invest in pedometers (step counters) for each member of your family and challenge each other to make your step goals every day?
There are lots of ways to make walking fun, too. You could turn it into a nature walk, spotting different types of plant and animal life as you go, or play a game such as “I Spy” while you walk. Geocaching, the world’s largest free treasure-hunting game, is also a great way to add a sense of adventure to your walks.
Have an At-Home Dance Party
Dancing is fantastic for your physical and mental health, raising your heart rate at the same time as getting those feel-good brain chemicals flowing. Having a home dance party is as simple as putting on some favorite tunes and dancing around your living room together.
If you want to go the extra step, dim the lights and bring out a disco ball or a set of flashing Christmas lights to create a party atmosphere, or make it a silent disco by using headphones to each listen to your favorite music.
You can also enjoy dancing at home by learning a routine. There are thousands of free dance fitness videos on Youtube, and you’re sure to have a blast as you master the steps.
Swimming is one of the most effective full-body workouts you can do. It uses most of your major muscle groups, gets your heart pumping and blood flowing, and can burn some serious calories. But you don’t need to stick to the lanes to enjoy all the benefits of swimming.
There are lots of different ways to make swimming even more fun. Take pool toys, play swimming games, have races, or attend organized events such as pool parties. Don’t forget about water parks, too, where you can have fun and burn energy racing down the flumes and slides as well as splashing in the pool.
If you have safe nearby locations to do so, you can also go wild swimming. Kids of all ages will love playing and swimming in a river, lake, or ocean on a warm day.
Mini golf is the ideal way to introduce your little ones to golf in a fun environment. Walking around the course and playing golf offers low-impact, full-body exercise and can burn off more energy than you might think.
Playing golf also helps people of all ages to develop and improve motor skills, hand-eye coordination, balance, focus, and attention to detail. All of these skills have wider applications off the course as well as on.
As your children get older, you can move on from mini golf to a driving range or full size course. They’ll love watching their skills improve.
Get Your Skates On
Anyone who has watched professional figure skaters understands that ice-skating is a serious athletic workout. But you don’t need to be a Winter Olympian to reap the benefits of this popular winter sport. And, thanks to indoor rinks, you and your family can enjoy ice-skating all year round and no matter where you live.
Ice-skating offers physical health benefits from boosting cardiovascular fitness and burning energy, through to increasing endurance, strength, and stamina. It’s also a great way to tone your muscles and improve your balance and coordination.
Remember that ice-skating can be dangerous, particularly for beginners and children. Start slowly, challenge yourselves within safe limits, and consider investing in some beginner lessons to reduce your risk of accidents and injuries.
What are your favorite ways to stay fit as a family?
Tell us about your favorite activities in the comment!