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contributor articles5 Ways to Enjoy Family Fitness This Year

5 Ways to Enjoy Family Fitness This Year

I can always count on having a little fresh motivation at the start of a new year. There’s something about a beginning to make me feel excited and ambitious. Maybe you’ve experienced excitement and motivation for a new fitness routine or you’ve set out to work towards a big goal – just to quit before February. How can we continue to work towards our goals throughout the year when motivation and excitement have been replaced by busy schedules and exhaustion?

Among many other things hindering your ability to commit to a fitness routine, finding the daily time is likely one of the biggest obstacles. The easiest way to add more fitness to your life is to incorporate it within your existing windows of time. The best way to enjoy that time is to do it with your family. You may not have an hour or two to leave your home and go to a gym, but maybe you have twenty minutes at the playground with your kids. You can use the fifteen minutes that dinner is baking in the oven to have a fun workout with your family. You can sneak away to the hike and bike trail on a Saturday morning with your people. You can start your family game night off with an active game. With a little creativity, you can utilize existing windows of time to get some activity in.

The most important part of this equation is your attitude towards fitness. Your attitude will affect your effort. It will shape how you view your circumstances and will impact your children and spouse. A positive attitude towards fitness will allow you to enjoy being active instead of viewing it as a chore or punishment. It will allow you to see opportunities in your schedule instead of obstacles. It will influence your family to enjoy fitness together. You may not be able to control your circumstances, time, money, or ability, but you are in control of your attitude – of what you do and how you do it.

Here are five practical ways to bring simple and fun family fitness into your life. These ideas are easily adapted to include any age or ability. Include the toddlers and add some extra intensity for the teenagers.

Dice Game

My family loves this game! You can change the movements and the format of this game to use it often. Use one die for fewer reps, and two dice for more. Pair up and do the movements together or everyone rolls individually. Work towards a specific number of reps or set a timer and see how many reps you get within that time frame. Don’t underestimate 10 minutes of work, especially if you are moving the majority of that time. Set a time or rep scheme that works for your family. My family loves to make this game a competition. We will usually team up, and the winning team will challenge the losing team to more work of their choice… let’s go!

Here are some examples:

1- Burpee
2- Push-ups
3- Jumping Jacks
4- Mountain Climbers
5- Air Squats
6- Sit-ups

1- Ten Burpees
2- 15 Second Side Plank (1 on each side)
3- Push Ups
4- Air Squats
5- Burpees
6- Hollow Body Rocks
7- Sit Ups
8- High Plank Shoulder Taps
9- Arch Holds
10- Jumping Squats
11- Sit Throughs
12- Lunges

So, if you roll a 12, you will do 12 lunges.
You can change any of these movements, and use a different combination each time you play. If you don’t know the movements, do a quick YouTube search, and you’ll find video demonstrations.

Hike and Bike Trail or Cattail Marsh

My two favorite spots to get outside and be active with my people! The hike and bike trail on Folsom is great for walking, running, cycling, scootering, or rollerblading. Everyone can choose the most appealing activity and you can all go together. The trail is 10 feet wide and 1.4 miles long. You can spice up a walk or run by stopping at each bench for a set of body-weight movements. As you get to each bench, perform 21 air squats, 15 step-ups onto the bench, and 9 push-ups.

Cattail Marsh has more than eight miles of gravel roads, perfect for long walks, jogs, or bike rides. There is so much to see there – birds, ducks, and maybe even an alligator. I love the sounds of Cattail Marsh – such a beautiful and peaceful location.

Sports

Our favorite family activity right now is playing sports together. My six and eight-year-old kids will always choose a sport for us to play and be active together. We play soccer, basketball, and football, and do some gymnastics and Jiu-Jitsu drills. This is a fun and easy way to get active and enjoy one another. Movement is necessary for any sport, and it won’t take you long to break a sweat. You’ll also start to relax as you play. You’ll smile, you’ll make eye contact, and you’ll connect with your kids. My kids defer to me for basketball expertise (for now), and to dad for football, but they get to be the experts in their sports – gymnastics, Jiu-Jitsu, and soccer. We follow their lead when we engage in those activities with them and let them coach us. This is so fun for them, and we always walk away with a nice little sweat session under our belts (and a happy and connected family!).

Playground

Ok, sometimes it’s just so nice to sit still while your kids run around like crazy people at the playground. Kids crave activity and movement outlets, and we tend to crave any quiet and still moments we can find. There is nothing wrong with stealing a quiet moment when you can, but if you are looking for a window for activity in your day, don’t miss out on the playground! Hang from bars, jump onto something, and run around! Here’s another opportunity to follow your kid’s lead. You don’t have to worry about what you’re doing here, just get moving and get your heart rate up and feed off of the endless energy of your littles.

If you want to challenge yourself a bit while your kids are occupied on the playground, try this quick HIIT workout:

20-15-10-5 Hanging knee raises

5-10-15-20 Lunge cycle jumps

Find a pull-up bar or monkey bar to hang from for those knee raises. In round one you’ll do 20 hanging knee raises with 5 lunge cycle jumps. Round two will be 15 knee raises and 10 lunge cycle jumps. Continue the pattern for rounds three and four. Rest as needed between rounds.

Burpees

If you’re still reading after the burpee heading, hey! I’m so glad you didn’t toss your device and stomp on it. People feel a type of way about burpees. I get it. But, I will always argue for burpees being your friend. Especially if you have trouble finding time to be active within your busy lifestyle. Burpees are efficient. They serve your body well in a short amount of time. They are functional. If you fall to the ground, you want to be able to get back up. In some instances, you may need to get up quickly. Burpees. You get on the ground, and you get off of it. They are simple, efficient, and aid in longevity. 

There are a few simple ways to grab your people and have some fun with burpees. My favorite is a burpee ladder. Set a timer to go off every minute on the minute, and get to work. In the first minute, do one burpee. Second minute – two burpees. Keep going until you can’t finish the next number of burpees within the minute. You can end there or you can work your way back down the ladder for an extra challenge. If you didn’t complete ten within the minute, you’ll take a one-minute break and then do nine the next minute. Then you’ll do eight and keep working down to one.

You can decide how long you want to work and set a timer. Maybe you can work for twenty minutes and do five burpees each minute. You can adjust the number so you are working for about thirty seconds and resting for thirty seconds each minute.

You can set a goal burpee number, get to work, and see how long it takes you to complete. Rest as needed. As your ability improves, you can modify any of these workouts to continue challenging yourself. It may look different for each person, but you can get everyone involved in a fun burpee workout!

You will always be able to find an excuse not to be active on any given day. While some of the hard things of your current season may get easier in the next, you will walk into new difficulties and challenges. If you believe taking care of your body is essential, you’ll have to find a way to do it today. If you are creative and find existing windows in your schedule to take advantage of, have a good attitude, and include your family, I think you’ll begin to enjoy and crave those moments. It will become easier to ditch the excuses and enjoy fitness with your family.


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