4 Family Friendly Workouts That Combine Fitness with Fun

For those of us busy with family, work and life, our workout routines are often the first to get the pink slip. But they shouldn’t be. In fact, physical activity is important for easing stress, boosting energy levels and warding off chronic diseases.

What’s the solution for fitting it all in? Make workout routines a family affair. You’ll get your heart pumping and your children will also learn healthy habits. In fact, a recent study from Oregon State University found that parents play a pivotal role in whether their kids become active or turn into couch potatoes. And with 17 percent of children currently overweight or obese, it’s especially important teach your little ones about fitness at an early age.

With that in mind, consider my four suggestions to combine workouts with family time. I guarantee you’ll have a blast while working up a sweat!

Family Workout Routine No. 1: Circuit Station

Stuck at home or trapped inside? Create a boot-camp style workout for the whole family: Set up five or six stations of body-weight exercises, such as jumping jacks, push-ups, lunges and squats. Assign each member of the family to a different station and rotate every 15 to 30 seconds.

For an extra push, run a lap around the yard (or house) after each circuit. Cycle through the stations five times. Don’t forget to keep a box of tissues to wipe away the sweat and a bottle of water on hand.

Family Workout Routine No. 2: At the Track

Take advantage of the track at your local middle or high school. Bring a soccer ball for your kids to play with in the center of the track as you walk or run. To ramp up the intensity, do intervals: Alternate between sprinting and walking laps. Are your kids too young to play on their own? Push them in a jogging stroller.

Family Workout Routine No. 3: Dance Party

Get your heart pumping with some fast-paced tunes! Put on your favorite workout music and start dancing with your kids. You’ll burn up to 330 calories an hour, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not sure how to get your groove going? Try a dance workout DVD or an interactive video game.

Family Workout Routine No. 4: At the Playground

Don’t stay on the sidelines — join in on the fun! Race your kids up and down the steps and slide, or bring a jump rope and let your kids count while you skip. Make sure to bring a pack of to-go tissues to clean off dirt and wipe up the sweat.

You can also turn the playground into your personal gym with these moves:

  • Walking lunges: Start in a standing position with your feet together. Step forward with your right leg. Bend both knees, lowering your hips to the ground. Your right knee should be directly over your ankle with your left knee facing the ground. Push up with your left foot and return back to the starting position. Repeat, leading with your left leg. For an extra challenge, carry one of your children as you lunge.
  • Monkey bar pull-ups: If you can’t quite do a full pull-up, just hang in there. Hold the pull-up position — with your chin above the bar — and count backward from 10. Repeat three times.
  • Decline push-ups: Place your toes on the edge of the slide and plant your palms on the ground. Bend your elbows and lower until your face is a few inches from the ground. Do two sets of 10.
  • Step-ups on a bench: Do 20 step-ups with your right leg, followed by 20 with your left leg.
  • Triceps dips: Begin sitting on a bench, with your hands next to or slightly beneath your hips. Lift up onto your hands, bringing your hips forward and off the bench. Bend your elbows (no more than 90 degrees) and lower your hips down. Push back up. Avoid locking your elbows and keep your shoulders down. Do three sets of 15.

About the Author

A National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer and a group fitness instructor with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. She blogs about health and fitness.


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