Fun Family Activities That Get You Fit

Photo by: Sander van der Wel CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Summer is here and it’s time for holiday family gatherings and fun! Family vacations, weekend getaways or a day trip to the beach with the kids are great opportunities to enjoy family and get some exercise at the same time. Park the car and bike to the park. After the barbecue enjoy some fun games in the back yard with the whole family to burn off those extra calories. This Memorial Day weekend, get the whole family involved in fun fitness.

Have a hula-hoop contest! The kids will love the competition and you will love what hula-hooping does for your abdominal muscles and thighs. Hula-hooping engages your entire mid-section and  your legs. On the count of three everyone start hooping! The person who can hoop the longest wins. You can burn more than 100 calories in just 10 minutes of hula-hooping. Adults will find hula-hooping easier if they use a large hoop. A weighted hoop is even easier to use.

Jumping rope is another way the whole family can have fun and get fit. You and your kids can have a contest to see who can jump rope the longest or the fastest. Use two long ropes with one family member at each end throwing the rope and play double-dutch. Select two or three different types of jumping rope, such as jumping on one foot or double jumps. You kids will have fun and you will burn as many calories as running one mile.

Running is one of the best ways to get fit and burn calories. Why not make it a game? The whole family can play a game of tag on the beach, at the park or in the back yard. Freeze tag is a favorite among children. One person is “it” and chases the others trying to tag them. If you get tagged, you have to stop running, or “freeze,” until another player tags  you again. The child who is “it” wins the game when everyone is frozen. Make it a team sport by several “its” chasing and tagging others.

Staying home this holiday weekend? Play some one-on-one basketball or a game of HORSE in the driveway. Each player gets a shot from the free-throw line. Every time a player makes a basket, he or she gets one letter of the word HORSE. Keep score with sidewalk chalk. If you want a more vigorous workout, you can burn as many as 200 calories in a  half hour playing basketball. Basketball is a high-impact exercise that helps build bones and muscle too. Make sure you warm-up before and cool-down after the game to reduce your risk of a sprained ankle or pulled muscle. Cool off with fruit juice and water to re-energize your body after a vigorous game.

Taking long walks, swimming, biking and playing volleyball at the beach are great ways to spend a summer weekend or holiday while keeping fit. You will not only build muscle and strong bones, you’ll strengthen your relationship with your family and kids.


Make Exercise A Habit

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Daily exercise does not have to be a chore. It can be a fun part of your daily routine, which can help you lose weight and get fit. You don’t have to stick to a strict schedule, but you should try to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. You don’t need expensive equipment or a pricey gym membership. Even a few minutes of exercise every day can make a big difference when it comes to feeling fit and losing weight. Make exercise a habit by making it part of your life.

Exercise by doing things that you enjoy and commit to your exercise time. If you enjoy the park, walk or ride a bicycle in the park two or three times each week. Involve others in your exercise time. Take the kids to the park with you and play a game of touch football. Commit to taking your kids or a friend to the park every week. You will spend valuable time with your friends and family and get the physical exercise you need to stay fit. Your commitment to physical exercise should be a priority in your life. Don’t reschedule your exercise time to do something else. Schedule other events around your exercise time.

Exercise in the morning before everyone else is awake. People who have small children or school age children know how hectic mornings can be. Once the kids are awake you may not have time to exercise or it will slip your mind as you try to help your teen find her favorite pair of shoes before school. It’s easy to make excuses and find reasons not to exercise when the house is buzzing with activity. Take some quiet time early in the morning just for yourself and do some sit-ups, push-ups, stretches, Pilates or yoga. Invest in some free weights, resistance bands, an exercise ball, a treadmill or a stationary bicycle so that you have your own mini gym at home. 

Make exercise after work part of your daily routine. On your way home from work, stop at the gym for a 30 minute workout or half an hour on the treadmill. Once you get home, it will be more difficult to convince yourself to go out again. Simply make that stop at the gym a normal part of your day. You may be tired after work, but exercise can help you feel more energized and the endorphins released by your brain will improve your sense of well-being. You will leave the gym feeling better than when you walked in after work.