The Three F’s: Family, Fitness, and Fun!

Key Points

  • Spending family time outside leads to natural and fun exercise.

  • Family and fitness go hand in hand, even when stuck inside on a rainy day.

  • The kitchen is another location for family and fitness to come together.

Working out helps you stay physically and mentally healthy. It gives you a rush of endorphins, making you feel good and a sense of accomplishment. If exercise is a part of your daily life, you prioritize it, but it doesn't have to be dull or solitary. Combine family and fitness for a fun and engaging experience for everyone.

It's never the wrong time to build exercise into your life. If you have children, then your family and fitness must both be priorities. There are a variety of ways to exercise and have fun with your family at the same time.

If you know anything about your kids, getting them to partake in fun activities is much easier than coaxing them into mundane tasks. If they dread exercise, they might drag their feet or hide, and you might give up on it altogether.

Fitness doesn't have to be running a mile, lifting weights, or other dreaded gym-class activies kids might find boring. It's fun and engaging when you do it right. Here are some tips to help your whole family enjoy working out as a team.

Get Outside

Generally, most people spend too much time cooped up indoors, even when the weather is ideal. One of the best ways to enjoy family time is to open those doors and head outside. There are so many fitness-related activities to do outside. Plus, breathing fresh air and mingling in nature are good for all of you.

International speaker and mental health author Constance Scharff, Ph.D. says, "Spending time outdoors is crucial for children's physical, mental, and social well-being. By encouraging children to get outside, adults can help kids stay active, reduce stress and anxiety, and build important social skills."

When adults and children are outside together, remain active and take advantage of the benefits being outside brings to the table. Boosting your vitamin D intake from healthy exposure to sunlight is a nice bonus, too.

Kids hula hooping with parents

Limit Screen Time

Those screens have a way of sucking your kids in, and they're really good at it. If you're being honest, you probably spend too much time on devices, too. Limit your child's screen time so they turn to other activities for entertainment throughout the day — like being outside.

Once electronic devices are off the table, spending time in nature becomes an easy and fulfilling way to pass the time. While they're outside, exercise comes naturally.

Play Family Games

There are limitless activities to do outside as a family. An activity as simple as tossing a ball back and forth to see how many times you throw it without letting it drop helps you to get your heart pumping.

You could arrange a kickball game in the yard if you have enough people. A backyard soccer game doesn't take more than two or three people, and shooting a basketball on a backyard hoop doesn't take many people either.

Hide-and-seek and tag are always fun and involve running and laughter every round. Have some go-to games you know your kids like, but change things up to include new games and different motions.

Family exercising with dumbbells

Create a Destination Workout

Do you live close to a park? Is there an ice cream shop a mile away? Sneak in exercise by traveling to that destination by foot, bike, or skateboard and enjoy the outdoors simultaneously.

Jump on your bikes and ride to the park so your child can climb and swing. Better yet, climb and swing with them.

Walk to the ice cream shop and enjoy a fun reward. Going to a secondary location that is a bit of a hike gives all of you a chance to move around as well as a treat to look forward to. It's also a clever way to add some spontaneous conversation to family time.

Indoor Motion

When your family is stuck inside because of cold or snowy weather, it's all too easy to snuggle up by the fire in a blanket and watch movies all day. While there's nothing wrong with relaxing, your body needs regular motion and activity. Indulge in lazy days occasionally, but make fitness a priority for everyone.

You may not have as much space as you'd like inside to work out, but there are always ways to engage your whole family and enjoy exercise at the same time.

Family dance party

Have a Contest

If your children have a competitive streak, nothing gets them moving faster than a contest. How many push-ups are each of you able to do in a minute? How many sit-ups are possible before you wear out? Who can run up the stairs and back down five times the fastest?

Little workouts throughout the day add up, and the contests are challenging and fun.

Play a Board Game, Action-Style

Some board games include motion; play those first. Get out games like Twister or play charades-like games and enjoy moving around. Even board games that aren't action-friendly can become so when you add a few house rules.

For example, add stipulations to each square the next time you play Monopoly. If you land on Park Place, you must do 10 jumping jacks. When you're in jail, you have to march in place until you get out.

Every board game becomes even more entertaining and a workout with action-packed rule twists.

Create Scavenger Hunts

Everyone loves a good adventure. When you're stuck inside with plenty of time, create a scavenger hunt for your kids or let them make one for you. Leave little notes around the house with clues that send them running from the main floor to the basement and back up again.

Write notes that include tasks, like doing a few burpees to get the next clue. The ending prize could be a rock from outside, a dollar, a treat, or just a note of congratulations.

Let Your Kids Choose

Kids are often full-motion creatures, and it's hard for them to sit still. Adults want to rest more, and keeping up with the younger generation is hard. Nevertheless, everyone needs exercise, and spending time with family and engaging in fitness are parallel activities.

To interest your kids in working out, let them choose the activity. Either give them a list of options or let their imagination run wild. Commit to their chosen activity so they're more willing to do yours when your turn rolls around.

Family exercising outside

Try a Game from P.E.

Your child may come home from school talking about games they played in P.E. class. They had a good time with their classmates and teacher, so why not try that game at home? Let them know that it would be fun to play at home.

Remember as many details as possible when they describe the game they played, but feel free to let them alter the rules.

Create a Show

Kids love attention, and creating a show with tricks is an excellent way for them to get it. If your child loves cartwheels, tumbling, or dancing, separate the family into different spaces so each person has time to create a show.

Sure, they'll laugh at you, but that's part of the fun. When you come back together, perform your show fully. The exercise is so natural and easy that they might not even notice.

Simon Says

Even simple games like Simon Says get the heart pumping, especially when your child plays Simon. The child Simon never tells you to lie down and take a nap! Instead, your child has you jumping, spinning, crouching, and doing all sorts of wacky, high-octane movements. Take turns as Simon, and don't go easy on them when it's your turn.

Family Kitchen Fitness

Family fitness isn't just about working out. Exercise is only about 20 percent of fitness goals, and the other 80 percent happens in the kitchen. Your children, and your family as a whole, need to eat right to stay healthy, happy, and fit.

Include Children in Meal Planning

Your kids are young now, but you're raising future adults. The habits you instill in children follow them into adulthood. Eventually, they need to know how to cook for themselves.

What is their go-to meal? If you constantly warm up frozen dinners, reach for bags of chips, and indulge in cookies and ice cream, that's what your children will do as adults, too.

Lead your children to fruits and vegetables, but avoid forcing them to eat them. Instead, find foods that are delicious and nutritious.

Include your children in meal planning. Let them have input on the meals, and they're much more likely to clean their plates.

Parents and kids cooking

Enjoy Cooking Sidekicks

Your kids will enjoy what they eat more if they have a hand in preparing the food. Many children love getting their hands dirty in the kitchen, and this life lesson follows them many years into the future. Teach them to cook lean meats, like chicken and turkey, and add vegetables as side dishes.

Yes, it's easier to whip up dinner without little hands spilling dishes, but when your child helps, they become invested in the meal. Teach them about the nutrients their body needs and infuse health and fitness into their psyche at a young age. Cooking can be a family activity instead of a task you do alone.

The Five Components of Fitness

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are five main components of a good fitness plan: aerobic activity, core strength exercises, strength training, balance training, and flexibility/stretching. Balancing life and fitness goals is hard as both a working and a stay-at-home parent, but you can integrate these components into everyday activities with your children.

Aerobic activity, for example, is easy to work into a play session with your child. Children love chasing games, and you engage your core giggling when you catch them. Add a few stretches when you wake up in the morning and before bed to help yourself prepare for the day and wind down at night.

Balancing Family and Fitness

Sometimes your family needs come first, and you won't be able to reach your daily fitness goals — and that's okay. Make that the exception, however, not the norm. Every family member needs to have fitness elements in their life, including daily exercise and an abundance of healthy foods.

Family bike ride

Lining up support is one of the best ways to achieve your health objectives. Since you spend more time with your family than anyone else, make them your central support system. Make plans to get and stay healthy together!

Get Fit and Make Some Memories

"Exercise" is often seen as a tedious challenge, but it's actually fun when you work out in ways you enjoy. Riding bikes with your kids isn't work, right? It's quality time spent with your family. Playing kickball in your yard and running the bases hard isn't torture but rather good, clean fun.

You don't have to hire a personal trainer or go to the gym daily to balance your life with your fitness goals. Instead, examine your family life and see where you might be able to shift routines around to move more, spend time together, and become a family that also happens to be fit as a whole.

Looking for more tips on staying fit and working out? Visit Fit&Fab for tons of articles on running, working out, and thriving.

Was this article helpful?

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Top 3 Stories