Getting Fit as a Family

Exercise fun that strengthens familial bonds

FRIDAY, Sept. 1, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Getting the entire family involved in fitness is a great way to enjoy quality time and instill a love for exercise in kids at an early age.

These ideas will help you scale into activity in different ways.

One easy step is to turn everyday activities into mini workouts. If you drive your kids to school, try leaving a few minutes early and walking at least part of the way. Or walk together to the playground after school or when errands need to be done.

Bike riding is a fun family activity, whether you bike for its own sake or use it as a mode of transportation to get to the library or a nearby park.

Ready for a greater challenge?

Hiking is fitness with a dual purpose -- helping kids develop an appreciation of nature as they get in a workout. Golfing without a cart and playing tennis are other ideas that engage kids in activities they'll be able to enjoy throughout their lives.

Need a more gradual transition? If your kids love gaming, start by working out with activity-related video games, the kind that gets everyone off the sofa.

Because strength training is so important, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing muscle-building exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups as part of family fitness.

To get everyone excited about exercise, ask all family members for their ideas. Chart suggestions by season, like going kayaking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter.

And when you're ready to take exercise to the next level, consider a fitness vacation that will hone a favorite sports skill or provide instruction for a new one. Motivate everyone by preparing for the challenge while still at home.

More information

The American College of Sports Medicine has more ideas for adding exercise to everyday activities (http://www.acsm.org/docs/fit-society-page/acsmfsp15-3.pdf?sfvrsn=0 ) that are fun for everyone in the family.