Now that we’re more than a month into the school year, you may be having a hard time finding time to spend together as a family, let alone get in a good workout. As the temperature drops, many of your go-to outdoor activities are also off the table. So, what’s a parent to do to help squeeze it all in without feeling like another chore? Well, here’s five activities/workouts you can do as a family that we thought might help get your imagination going.
1. Sports: Basketball, Tennis, Swimming, etc.
This is probably a pretty obvious one for most people, yet doesn’t necessarily have to involve school sports teams. Getting on the court or in the pool with your family is a super fun way to “play active.” (And luckily Elite has indoor basketball and tennis courts, as well as indoor saltwater pools you can enjoy all year round!) Remember, we can learn a lot from kids about staying in shape, particularly how fun it can be. You can either play the sport with your children, or you could even sign them up for tennis lessons and join a drill group during that time, or they can join in on swim lessons while you sneak in a few laps yourself. Your children will feel more excited about their own classes if they know you are doing the same activity too.
2. Circuit/Interval Training
Turn the playground, your living room, or the gym at the club into your own family circuit workout. Ramp it up a bit and try doing high intensity intervals while you are at it too! The quick bursts of different exercises will keep things interesting for kids with short attention spans, and the overall workout will be done in no time. Try something like this:
- Station 1: Jumping Jacks
- Station 2: Zigzag Sprints
- Station 3: Body-Weight Squats
- Station 4: Bunny Hops—Jump forward, keeping your feet together
- Station 5: Pushups
- Station 6: Monkey Run—Shuffle sideways and then back, two times. Turn around and repeat, leading with the other foot.
Set a timer and either do these all together at once as a family (sometimes better for younger children so they can use you as an example) or rotate stations between each of you. Then repeat!
3. Hiking, Running, or Walking
It’s amazing the endurance (and determination) of kids these days—when they put their mind to it. We’re sure you’ve heard of the 11-year-old who ran a marathon on every continent. Now, obviously this is the extreme and only accomplished after very careful training. Nonetheless, don’t dismiss taking your child along with you for your next long run, or hike. Otherwise a family walk after dinner is always a great habit to get into. Frequent breaks, to take in the sights, help to keep your kiddos properly rested and engaged with the wonder of the outdoors.
Start by staying close to home or working in laps just in case, but you’ll be amazed with how—with proper training—your child could soon be right by your side for your next 2 mile run, or 5 mile hike. (And this is all still totally tolerable during the cooler autumn months, probably even more so than the sweltering summer months!) Smaller toddlers in tow? They make some really great running strollers and hiking carriers these days. (And you get a little extra workout pushing & carrying the extra weight!)
4. Dance, Wiggle, and Groove
Depending on the ages of your children—or your sense of rhythm—you can have a family dance off, or at least a wiggle and groove off! Turn on the jams while you are making dinner and dance around the kitchen. Pump up the radio in your car on the way to dropping the kids off at school and rock out together. Want something a little more structured? Play one of the popular dance video games out there. Or try dance lessons at the club, zumba, or Elite’s Movin’ & Groovin’ class. In any case, let yourself hang loose, move those feet, shake that bum, and bob that head. The sillier you are, the better. Everyone knows the classic dance moves like the “Lawn Mower” or the “Sprinkler,” right?!
5. Yoga or Stretching
Children need to learn early on the value of a proper warm-up/cool-down and stretching. Before you do any of the activities or workouts previously listed, make sure to do a dynamic warm-up to get the blood flowing. Static stretching and simple yoga poses are also a great way to wind down at the end of the day and get ready for bed. Try incorporating some of these kid-friendly yoga poses into your daily routine.
You could always leave it up to your trainer to come up with a custom workout routine for your entire family too. This way they can consider your (the adults) specific health and fitness goals, while still making the exercise fun for the whole family.