Whip Your Family Into Shape

Activities for Families

While playing organized sports is always a good way to stay fit as a family, don't limit yourselves to just football, baseball, basketball, and other ballgames. Just tossing a Frisbee around on a Sunday afternoon is a great way to get started. Maybe the whole family can take karate lessons at the local Y. Or combine household chores and exercise. Hold contests to see who can sweep the carpets the fastest, or wax the floors, or rake the leaves. Finding something that holds everyone's interest and will make it easier to sustain an active lifestyle.

Flexibility is the key to any successful exercise and fitness program, especially one that you are trying to do as a family. Remember to choose some activities that don't take a lot of extra time and can be done in a variety of settings. Here are some other family activity suggestions:

  • Hiking. Combine a hike with a nature lesson.
  • Running. Be sensitive to everyone in the family, and don't begin by running as if you are trying out for the Olympics. Make sure everyone has proper running shoes.
  • Skiing. Try cross-country skiing, which is less expensive and can be done in a field behind your house. Bring some hot chocolate and other snacks to make it a fun outing.
  • Canoeing. Follow all safety rules, and make sure everyone wears a life preserver.
  • Dancing. Have your children teach you the latest dance craze, or enroll in a class at your local Y or community center.
  • Swimming. A day at the beach or pool can be a fun time for families who like swimming.
  • Biking. Always remember to wear bicycle helmets and follow basic bicycle safety and traffic rules.
  • Horseback riding. Contact a local stable to see if they offer family rides.
  • Walking. Yes, even an after-dinner walk around the neighborhood can be good exercise, but it will probably work best with small children, as any parents of teenagers can tell you.
  • Aerobics. Try renting an aerobic exercise tape from your local video store, or enroll in a class at your local Y or community center.
  • Ice-skating. Using an established indoor or outdoor rink is the safest way to go. Check to see if they offer any discounts for families or groups.
  • Roller skating / blading. Remember to have everyone wear helmets, kneepads, and elbow pads to avoid injuries.
  • Snow shoeing. This can be fun, especially if you have small children.

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