Healthy Ways to Encourage Fitness as a Family

Exercise is often something we think of as a solitary endeavor, or something we do with strangers at the gym. However, spending time with family is a great motivation to get fit, and you can enjoy each other’s company as you all work toward your fitness goals.

You don’t have to sign an expensive family gym contract, or even leave the house to get some workout time in. The key is to make it fun and to keep moving, which can burn calories and strengthen bonds. Here are six ways to exercise with the kids involved…

1. Create an Indoor Dance Floor suggests moving aside the furniture in the living room, and cranking on some high-energy dance music. The article even mentions letting the kids use a flashlight as “strobe light,” presumably to mimic a dance club atmosphere.

You can tune into music that your younger ones know the words to, so they can sign along as they bust a move. There’s no chance of outsiders judging your moves, and you can go freestyle or take a break and watch your youngest ones hilariously try to keep up.

2. Base Vacations Around Activity says the next time you’re looking at the map to decide a great place to take the family, skip the amusement parks and focus on locations that encourage outdoor activity. For example, maybe you could book a trip to a place that has ski hills.

Even if you haven’t tried the activity before, it could be exciting for the whole family to learn it together, notes the site. This could set the tone for leading a “long-term healthy lifestyle,” explains the source. Consider other locations where you can go for a hike or play in the water, it adds.

3. Make Your Own Fitness Video

Your kids already love watching television and being the stars of their own social media feeds, so why not use that to encourage them to be active? says one way to do so is to grab a video recorder (a smartphone should be sufficient) and let your kids create an exercise routine.

You can let them be silly, the key is that they’re being active and getting their heart pumping. If you have video editing skills, you can edit in upbeat music (or play some while you’re recording the video). Your kids will want to watch it to see their own performance, and it could spark them to keep it going. Make it a series!

4. Make Chores Fun says that you can help your kids get exercise while you also get your house cleaned (win-win!). The trick is to get your kids motivated to want to take on mundane chores in the first place. The key is to make them fun.

The source suggests making the chores into a competition (when you have more than one child), and even do a play-by-play announcer voice of their progress whether it’s washing dishes or putting away toys. The source doesn’t suggest giving prizes, but perhaps you could offer to clean up next time in place of the winner.

5. Create an ‘Exercise Hunt’ has a rather unique idea (it calls “Hide and Sweat”) to get the entire family moving together. The site suggests writing down 20 fitness activities (they could be doing 10 push-ups, for example) on 20 pieces of paper and putting each one in a plastic egg.

You can then hide the eggs like as if it was Easter, and have the kids search them out. When they find one, not just your kids do the activity, the entire family does. Putting a time limit on finding the eggs and doing the activities can add to the challenge.

6. Just Go to a Park

There’s not many more simpler pleasures than heading to a big open green space to kick the ball around, play catch or chase your kids around (or have them chase you). You’ll get fresh air, and you’ll know your kids are safe in your company.

Instead of driving to the park, you can find a cool side trail to walk along or another way to get there (biking as a family is a great option too. Just remember to don the helmets). Just being outside will help your kids appreciate nature, and you won’t have worry about accidentally knocking over furniture.

Jeff Hayward

Jeff Hayward

Jeff has more than 15 years of experience writing professionally about health, travel and the arts among other subjects. He continuously looks to improve his own overall health through exercise, diet and mindfulness. He is also a proud stay-at-home dad that loves taking photographs both professionally and as a hobby.