A family is active together. Exercising with young kids can be fun when you discover what they love to do.

Having kids is completely life changing. From late nights with newborns to carting teens from place to place, it can be overwhelming. One thing that shouldn’t change when you have children is your commitment to getting physical activity. Yes, I know parenthood is exhausting, but you can make space in your life for exercise even when you are crunched for time! The more you learn about exercising with your kids and how to get it done, the easier it will be to actually do.

Need a little motivation?

Physical health is one of the pillars to leading a happy life. When you don’t make your physical health a priority, its going to show in your energy levels and overall wellness. Your activity levels will affect your children and your partner as well.

Check out these benefits of having an active family

Physical activity as a family goes far beyond the realm of health and fitness. It acts as a jumping point for a range of benefits. These include emotional, social, and psychological advantages. Exercise not only helps you as an individual, but also the collective well-being of your family unit.

Make Awesome Memories

The shared experiences that come with family fitness create lasting memories that bind family members together. Whether it’s conquering a challenging trail during a hike, mastering a new dance routine, or celebrating small victories during a game of soccer, these shared accomplishments help to build your family identity.

Setting a Healthy Example for Children

Children are like sponges, absorbing behaviors and attitudes from their environment. When your children see you actively prioritizing healthy habits, they’re more likely to internalize that lifestyle. This example lays the foundation for a lifelong commitment making health positive choices.

Creating Opportunities for Open Communication

Whether you’ve got tots or teens, the business of daily life often leaves little room for meaningful conversations. Family fitness offers a dedicated space for quality interactions. These activities provide a natural setting for conversations that might otherwise might not happen. Walking side by side or engaging in a friendly game creates an environment where kids and parents open up, allowing everyone to share their thoughts, concerns, and aspirations.

Promoting Teamwork

Engaging in physical activities as a family nurtures essential life skills such as teamwork, cooperation, and healthy competition. Whether it’s working together to set up a campsite during a family camping trip or collaborating to complete a challenging obstacle course, these experiences cultivate a sense of unity and shared purpose.

Enhancing Problem-Solving Skills

Physical activities often require problem-solving and decision-making, whether it’s navigating a challenging hiking trail or strategizing during a team sport. Family members learn to work together to overcome obstacles, fostering critical thinking skills that extend beyond the activity itself. These problem-solving skills become valuable assets in other areas of life, from school to work to personal relationships.

Screen free time

Getting away from screens is a good thing for the entire family! It allows us to make deeper connections and actually pay attention to the people we are in the room with.

A dad works out with his son.

Still Not Convinced You Should Exercise With Your Kids?

It’s not all about you, but it’s essential as a parent that you take care of yourself! If you are feeling low and unmotivated, it’s going to have a trickle down effect on your family.

Improved Physical Fitness and Personal Well-Being

Remember, regular participation in active endeavors contribute to improved cardiovascular health. This has lasting implications on your lifespan. Enhanced endurance and better overall fitness just make everyday life with kids easier.

Stress Reduction and Enhanced Mood

Modern life often brings a load of stressors, from work demands to household responsibilities. Family fitness serves as an outlet for you to release stress and unwind. Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers, increasing your sense of happiness and relaxation.

Rekindling Passion and Intimacy

Engaging in activities that induce physical adventure can have a positive impact on your romantic life. The rush of adrenaline and endorphins during family fitness adventures can reignite feelings of passion and excitement. Sharing these exhilarating experiences helps couples see each other in a new light, reminding them of the sparks that drew them together.

A family plays on the lake together.

Need More Inspiration?

Benefits of family exercise for kids

Family fitness isn’t just about parents leading the way; it’s an opportunity for children to thrive. The benefits that children gain from participating in family fitness activities are far-reaching and contribute to their overall growth and development.

Development of Motor Skills, Coordination, and Balance

Physical activities as a family provide children with a platform to hone their motor skills, coordination, and balance. Activities like biking, playing catch, or dancing demand precise movements and body control, helping children refine their fine and gross motor skills. These activities also foster a strong mind-body connection, enabling children to better understand and utilize their physical capabilities.

Boosting Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

Engaging in family fitness activities bolsters children’s self-confidence and self-esteem. As they achieve small milestones, such as climbing a tree or completing a hike, children experience a sense of accomplishment that boosts their self-belief. This positive reinforcement contributes to a healthy self-image and encourages them to take on new challenges with enthusiasm and determination.

Improved Social Skills and Friendships Through Group Activities

Participating in family fitness often involves group activities, offering children a chance to refine their social skills and form friendships. Whether it’s playing tag with siblings, teaming up for a relay race, or collaborating on a scavenger hunt, these experiences nurture important social qualities like cooperation, communication, and teamwork.

Improved Academic Performance

Regular participation in family fitness activities has a positive impact on your children’s academic performance. Physical activity has been linked to increased blood flow to the brain, promoting better cognitive function. Engaging in outdoor activities also exposes children to natural stimuli that inspire creativity and curiosity.

Instilling Lifelong Healthy Habits

By participating in family fitness, children establish healthy habits from a young age. The positive experiences and associations formed during these activities create a foundation for a lifelong commitment to health and wellness. These habits extend beyond physical fitness, influencing their dietary choices, stress management techniques, and overall well-being.

A mother works out with her children.

Barriers to Working Out as a Family

While the benefits of family fitness are undeniable, there are certain barriers that you will encounter when it comes to exercising with your kids. Recognizing and addressing these challenges is crucial for your success.

Time Constraints and Busy Schedules

Family life is busy! Work, school, extracurricular activities, and household chores can make it difficult to find dedicated time for family exercise. Balancing these demands requires intentional scheduling and a commitment to prioritize physical activity as a family.

Age and Skill Level Differences Among Family Members

Many families consist of members spanning various age groups and skill levels. Young children might not have the physical abilities of older siblings or parents, and grandparents might need activities that are less physically demanding. This diversity can pose a challenge in selecting activities that cater to everyone’s abilities and needs.

Conflicting Interests or Preferences for Sedentary Activities

Each family member has individual preferences when it comes to leisure activities. Some might enjoy outdoor adventures, while others prefer indoor pastimes like reading or playing video games. The allure of screens and sedentary activities can often compete with the desire to engage in physical fitness as a family.

A mother works out with her daughter.

Overcoming Barriers

So, how do you break down those barriers and actually make family physical activity a reality?

You do it by implementing strategies tailored to your family’s dynamics. It’s not a case of one size fits all. You’ll have to use a combination of planning, creativity, and compromise to meet everyone’s specific needs.

Scheduling Regular Activity Time

Setting a designated time for family fitness is essential. Just as you allocate time for work, school, and other obligations, scheduling family fitness creates a sense of commitment. A weekend hike, or a family swim, this scheduled time becomes a non-negotiable part of the family routine.

Adapting Activities to Suit the Needs and Abilities of All Family Members

When selecting activities, consider the range of ages and abilities within your family. Opt for activities that can be modified to accommodate different skill levels. For example, a family bike ride can include both younger children on training wheels and older members on more advanced bikes. The key is to ensure that everyone feels included and capable of participating.

Finding Common Ground and Compromising on Activity Choices

While differing interests might arise, finding common ground can be a unifying solution. Explore activities that everyone enjoys or is willing to try. This might involve rotating through various family members’ favorite activities or taking turns selecting the activity for the day. Emphasize the fun of trying new things together.

Celebrating Progress and Small Wins

Acknowledge and celebrate the efforts and achievements of each family member, no matter how small. Positive reinforcement creates a supportive environment that encourages perseverance. Whether it’s reaching a milestone, completing a challenging activity, or simply showing up with enthusiasm, recognizing these moments reinforces the value of family fitness.

A family rides bikes together.

Need Some Ideas for exercising with your kids?

The possibilities are almost endless when it comes to physical activity. Keep trying different things until you discover the activities that your family enjoys the most.

Hiking, Biking, and Nature Walks

Trying out new hikes, bike rides, and nature walks introduces your family to the beauty of the natural world while promoting physical fitness. These activities encourage exploration, curiosity, and a sense of adventure.

Outdoor Sports like Soccer, Basketball, and Tennis

Outdoor sports offer families a chance to bond over friendly competition and shared goals. Engaging in sports like soccer, basketball, or tennis fosters teamwork, communication, and strategy. Parents and children can team up, competing against each other or joining forces to challenge other families.

Water-Based Activities such as Swimming, Kayaking, and Snorkeling

For families near water bodies, water-based activities offer a refreshing way to stay active and connect. Swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling not only provide a full-body workout but also introduce families to the wonders of aquatic ecosystems.

Recreational Games like Tag, Hide and Seek, and Capture the Flag

Recreational games infuse family fitness with fun and excitement. Classic games like tag, hide and seek, and capture the flag encourage active play, quick thinking, and creativity.

Dance Parties and Fitness Challenges

Dance parties make a great spur of the moment physical activity as a family. Crank up the music and be as crazy as you want. Try setting up obstacle courses, relay races, or timed challenges that cater to different skill levels.

Gardening and Yard Work

Whether it’s planting flowers, tending to a vegetable garden, or raking leaves, yard work activities engage various muscle groups and teach children about responsibility and nurturing.

Artistic Pursuits in Nature

Combine creativity with physical activity by engaging in artistic pursuits in nature. Consider activities like rock painting, nature scavenger hunts, or outdoor yoga sessions. These activities encourage children to engage with their surroundings in new and imaginative ways.

Family-Friendly Races and Fun Runs

Participating in family-friendly races or fun runs brings the thrill of organized events to family fitness. These races often feature shorter distances suitable for all ages and fitness levels. They create a sense of achievement and camaraderie as family members cross the finish line together, celebrating each other’s efforts.

Volunteering and Community Service

Engaging in community service as a family not only promotes physical activity but also cultivates empathy and social responsibility. Participate in local clean-up events, charity walks, or volunteer activities that require physical effort. These experiences teach children about giving back to their community while staying active.

Exploring Cultural Heritage

Incorporate cultural heritage into family fitness by engaging in traditional activities. This might include practicing folk dances, playing traditional games from your culture, or engaging in activities specific to your heritage. These experiences not only celebrate your family’s roots but also provide an opportunity for cross-generational learning and storytelling.

Final Thoughts

Spending quality time together is an important part of a happy family life. Getting out and being active strengthens bonds and contributes to overall well being. While not all physical activities are everyone’s cup of tea, keep trying things until you discover what is a good fit for your family!

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