Putting family and fitness together doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems sometimes.
As a mother, I am my child’s primary coach and teacher. One of the first things I learned when I became a parent was that my kids are always learning…like little sponges soaking it all in. That means I carry a huge responsibility to set a good example in all things – from nutrition and fitness to manners and patience (lots of patience).
Balancing my kids’ schedules of school, sports, music lessons, and social engagements make for a busy calendar. I’m often tempted to let down time be just that…down time. But I also think it is important to look for opportunities that bring the family together.
I especially relish the chance to put family and fitness together. Fitness with the family is often much less stressful than organized sports or competitions and allows us to support one another and engage in friendly competition. It allows us to try new things and share new experiences. And I’m a big fan of any activity that gets us out from behind screens, both large and small.
Consider some of these fitness activities the next time you’re looking to put your passion for your family and fitness together.
Run a 5K Race
Today, 5Ks have taken on a life of their own. In many cases, you can champion a cause, dress up, or participate in themed races, like a glow run at night or color run, all of which have a festive atmosphere.
Participate in an Obstacle Course Challenge
In addition to lots of new and unique 5Ks, another new trend is 5Ks with an obstacle course component. Some, like the Spartan Race, are a little more hardcore, but many of the mud runs and challenge courses offer a version for younger athletes that allow the whole family to participate.
Not only are obstacle courses fun and physically challenging, but they encourage some friendly competition among family members as well.
Looking for something a little more chill? Yoga is an activity that reinforces slowing down and developing focus, which is good for everyone. The stretching and strength development will help an athlete of any sport and will also help you and your kids work on essential fitness skills like mobility.
Many times, free yoga classes are hosted in the summer months at local parks and rec facilities. Look up yoga studios in your area to find the best fit for you and your family. Want to know more about what yoga class is right for you? Check out our Guide to Yoga for Beginners.
Host a Family and Friends Tournament
A beach vacation is a great time to bring out the volleyball or soccer ball for some friendly competition. A neighborhood football game or meet up on the basketball court is a great way to let off steam and gain some exercise without the stress of winning and losing — just the granting of bragging rights.
Not only can a tournament, whether it’s basketball, kickball, etc., be a lot of fun, but it can also bring you closer as a family. Nothing brings people together like a common enemy — in this case, the neighbor’s team or your sister and her family.
Jump On in, the Water is Fine
Stand Up Paddleboarding or kayaking is a great way to explore somewhere new from the water. Kids (and pets) can always ride up front if they are not yet able to paddle for themselves. However, be warned, you will get wet!
Learn a New Sport Together
Never tried Ultimate Frisbee? How about golf? There are always new adventures to be discovered when you are learning together. If you need some ideas, check out our 9 Unique Ways to Get Outdoors This Summer.
Forge a New Trail
Whether hiking or biking, look for new and interesting trails to explore…or blaze your own at the local state park or even in the woods behind your house. Make sure to be safe, carry a cell phone just in case, and don’t forget the bug spray!
You’re Never Too Old For Field Day
If your children find themselves bored at home this summer, challenge them to a good, old-fashioned field day competition. Break out the hopscotch chalk, the jump ropes for double dutch, something to use as a baton in the relay race and some makeshift hurdles and you have hours of family-friendly competition.
Host American Ninja Warrior
If you’ve never watched American Ninja Warrior, give it a gander and then recreate some of the “challenges” in your own backyard. Let your kids help you get creative with obstacles and routines and then race each other to the finish!
No matter what your family likes to do, there are countless options for spending quality time and creating memories. The fitness is secondary to fun, which is a lot like masking vegetables in your meatloaf – another brilliant parenting trick.