Family Health

Fitness for the Whole Family

Aug 29 • 2014
Fitness for the whole family

Fitness is more than just lifting weights at the gym, spending an hour on the elliptical or sweating to the latest exercise DVD. There are so many different ways to enjoy exercise, especially when you exercise with other people. In fact, research shows that people who work out with others are more likely to stick to it.

Making time to exercise can be a challenge with a hectic schedule, so why not make it a family activity? Not only will you reap the benefits of a healthier body, but you’ll benefit from a healthier relationship with your loved ones. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will also set a great example for your kids.

Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Here are a few examples of fun, family activities that double as hidden exercise:


Bike ride

A family bike ride is a great way to explore your community and spend time together. Map a route from your home to a local park or pack up your bikes and take them to Rails-to-Trails, a nationwide network of trails created from former rail lines. Rails-to-Trails is great for kids because the trails are paved, flat and easy to navigate. When starting out, be sure to keep track of how far you ride to ensure the little ones have enough energy for the return trip.


Go for a walk or a run

Lace up your sneakers and take a power walk before or after dinner. Make it fun for your little ones and let them lead the way, choosing when to turn left or right. If it’s starting to get dark, have a little fun and make it a pajama walk. If you have older kids, go for a jog. As you build stamina, sign up for a family 5k to support a cause you all are interested in, such as the Baptist Memphis 5K Fun Run & Walk for Wellness.


Backyard sports

Some of the best memories can be made in your own backyard: “Remember that time when mom dove for the volleyball and landed right in the flower garden? Thank goodness she didn’t land on the rose bush!” There are so many activities you and your family can do at home; set up a volleyball net, grab a ball and bat or toss a Frisbee around. Not only will you and your family bond, but your kids will learn the fundamentals of the game while burning extra calories.


Be an explorer

Local parks and nearby state parks are a great place to go for hiking trails. Most parks have well-marked trails that are suitable for the novice hiker, and some even have caves and other natural structures that your kids will find fascinating. Pack a lunch and enjoy a morning or afternoon exploring nature with a hike in the woods. Your kids will be so distracted by all of the cool things they are seeing, they will never realize they are exercising.


Take a class together

Many community centers are now offering family fitness classes such as yoga and Zumba. Call your local fitness center or look online to see what classes they might offer. In addition, you may find that your local park offers free outdoor family fitness classes.