Exercise is important for your family. It can lower heart risks, control weight and help tire rambunctious kids out. Plus, family activities and fitness at an early age can go a long way toward helping children form healthy habits for life.
We’re working with what we have during this pandemic (including that pesky Quarantine 15). So, here are five exercises to do as a family that can get you all moving.
1. Home Circuit
You’re doing better than most if you can find time to do something as simple as go to the bathroom without your kids following you. For the time-restricted, a circuit routine is one of your best options if you’re short on time.
- Hula hooping: How long can you hula hoop for? Hula hooping burns more calories than you think. Not bad for a $10 piece of plastic!
- Bear crawls: Palms and feet flat on the floor, arch your back so that you look like a papa bear. Race your kids across the room and see who can "roar" the loudest.
- Jumping jacks: Kids love these! Stand tall and then explosively jump into the air, expanding your legs and your arms so that you look like a large “X” in the air.
- Sit-ups: A classic. Feel free to tuck your toes under the sofa or coffee table if you need a bit of support or involve the kids and ask them to hold your feet and vice versa.
- Jumping rope: How many skips can you do without stopping? Cheap and portable, they’re great to take to the park too. Who knows - maybe Dad is a future double dutch champion!
- Lunges: Step forward and bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle. The goal is to have your back knee touch the ground without letting your front knee extend past your toes. To make it harder, carry (small) children in each arm. This should be no problem for dads who are proficient multitaskers anyway.
- Planks: Elbows on the floor and balanced on your tiptoes, tense your core and keep your back straight. Try going eye-to-eye and see who can last the longest. For fun, ask your smallest child to sit on your back and see how long you last.
Do each movement for 30-60 seconds and repeat the circuit three times for a quick and effective workout for the whole body. Each activity can be made kid-friendly for little ones or harder for your older children.
2. Follow a Video
Fun and creative exercise programs are more likely to get your family involved. So instead of making exercise a chore, follow a fun YouTube video that keeps them engaged.
We created our own for families to join in. Can you keep up? Grab the kids, a towel and some water and take the challenge on! Take pictures and tag us on social media so we can give you a shout out.
3. Family Walks
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. Walking is a favorite childhood family activity - it’s pretty kid-friendly. There are so many benefits to walking, mostly the mindfulness and the gentle introduction it provides to exercise. The whole family can participate (even the baby in their stroller).
Now, we realize that not everyone lives where there are nice walking trails and some of you dads might be shielding. Even if you walk around your property, through a park or on a road that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, you’re still moving and spending quality time together.
What about an LQBTQ+ fundraising race? Here are a few of our favorites you get involved with:
There’s plenty of opportunities to support the community and raise awareness - some are even online!
4. Ninja Course
Do you watch the show American Ninja Warrior? If not, you’re missing out. It’s an intensive assault course that puts contestants through their paces, testing their agility, strength and speed.
It’s a little difficult to have your own fully-fledged course at home but you can definitely take inspiration from the show.
Have your kids crawl under a row of dining chairs, jump from throw pillow to throw pillow and see if they can get a scrunched up newspaper in the trash can for the big finale. You can scale it each time, adding more adventure to the mix.
5. Dance Party
Declare a dance party! Usually, this involves putting on some hits and dancing all over the house. It doesn’t take long to work up a sweat!
Having a family dance party lets parents and kids get silly while also getting some good cardio in. Hip hop dancing can burn about 400 calories an hour, so turn up the beats.
You can also play music as you clean and take turns choosing favorite songs. Younger children love to help out and can pick up toys or sweep floors while dancing with the broom. Older kids can dust, vacuum and do laundry.
When exercise feels like play, your whole family will have a great time and be more likely to continue those good habits in the future.
Our kids model our behavior. Their attitudes and actions toward everything from nutrition to exercise are shaped by our own actions. If we want our kids to eat well, we need to eat well. If we want them to exercise, we need to exercise. And it’s good for dads too!