Father and daughter dancing on bed

Fun Family Exercise Routines

Obesity rates are a growing problem, especially among the new generations of children who prefer spending their days indoors behind a screen, rather than being active outside.

This is why exercising as a family is so important. It not only teaches your children the importance of staying physically fit, setting a good example for them, but it can also be such a fantastic bonding experience for the whole family.

Not sure where to start?

Here are some fun ways to exercise with your family that everyone will enjoy…

Get Dancing

Dancing is such a fantastic workout, and this is an easy one for getting the whole family involved.

All you need to do is put together a playlist of songs that your family love, turn up the volume and get moving! If you do this in the evening, adding in flashlights in lieu of strobe lights can make the activity even more special for young children.

You will likely find that this is an activity that your family could do for hours, enabling all of you to reap the many benefits of dancing, such as:

Walk the Dog

This may seem simple, but children tend to have such a fascination with animals.

An activity as basic as walking the dog will likely seem so much more exciting to kids than to you, making this a great way to get the whole family (as well as the dog) moving.

Family running with the dog

To keep things interesting, try to pick new routes and locations each day. Areas where your dog can run free and properly play and interact with the entire family would be a bonus.

Don’t have a dog?

Borrow a friend or neighbor’s dog instead. Even if you do have a dog, adding in an extra one can really change the dynamics of your walk.

There are also many apps out there that connect dog owners with people who enjoy walking them. This will give your family the chance to interact with many different pooches, although you would need to ensure that they are each child-friendly.

Commercial Break Workouts

Are there any television shows that the entire family watch together?

Well, since you already have everyone in the same room, this is a great opportunity to sneak some exercise in too.

How?

You will need to wait for the commercials to come on, but, as soon as they do, get everyone doing a certain exercise. From high jumps to planking to push-ups, this is a great way of ensuring that your children don’t end up too sedentary when watching TV.

You could also arrange for each family member to take turns being the “leader” of the workout for each commercial break. This will make things more interesting, as everyone will be able to have their say when it comes to exercises that they enjoy.

Jump Roping

Is jump roping something that your children do?

This simple activity actually brings with it a number of benefits, such as:

  • Improved motor coordination
  • Improved agility, speed, reflexes and balance
  • Provides cardio benefits
  • Helps with brain development and boosts creativity

Plus, the fact that jump roping is a low-impact activity means that it will not put any unnecessary pressure on the joints.

Family jumping rope in the park

There are plenty of jump roping games and rhymes to be found online, so equip yourself with some of these before introducing the activity to your family.

Grow Some Food

No matter what age you are, being able to grow something and then eat it gives you a huge thrill of satisfaction. The fact that you can also enjoy organic produce at a fraction of what you would have paid for it is an added bonus. 

This is something that your whole family can take part in, with each family member choosing a few of their favorite foods to grow.

Wondering where the exercise part comes in?

Gardening itself is actually a fantastic workout!

Did you know that gardening for an hour can burn as many calories as if you had jogged for four miles? 

Gardening requires your body to perform such a wide range of motions, from squatting and bending to lifting and digging, giving you the ultimate workout. It also triggers your brain to release feel-good endorphins, while teaching your children a sense of responsibility.

Wondering how to get started?

Have a family meeting to discuss the foods you want to grow. Then, go out and get some seeds or plants, and get growing!

Some easy foods to start off with include:

  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Strawberries
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Different types of lettuces
  • Herbs

Don’t forget to teach your family how to properly warm up before gardening, especially if you have a few strenuous tasks ahead of you that day. Due to all of the muscles that are used when gardening, gardening-related injuries are actually more common than you would think!

Go for a Swim

Swimming is often referred to as the perfect exercise.

Why?

Because it provides you with all of the benefits of a full aerobic workout, but without putting any pressure on the joints. Swimming is an exercise that can be done by just about every member of the family, no matter their age. 

When it comes to deciding where to go for a family swim…

You can either opt for a local swimming pool or the sea, although this does depend on where you live. While the sea usually tends to be more fun, this can often be impractical in the colder months, so make sure that you have a few back-up options too. 

Can’t imagine your children getting on board with the idea of swimming laps?

Don’t worry, they don’t need to!

You can either just leave them to splash and play about in the water, which will bring them pretty similar health benefits, or you can get everyone involved in a family pool game.

Jumping or diving competitions are always fun, as is Starfish Tag. Younger children tend to love underwater mirror games, while balancing competitions on a floating mattress will get everybody’s muscles working.

Cycling Adventures

While it may be easy enough to cycle with your kids to school instead of driving them, or cycling to the shops on the weekends, this list is all about ways to make exercise fun.

The best way to do that when it comes to cycling is by turning the journey into a little adventure.

Family cycling outdoors

This means planning new routes and cycling through new areas, so that the views and scenery are different each time. Try to alternate between urban and rural areas, as this contrast will keep things interesting.

Planning your route so that there is something special and rewarding at the end of it will help to give your kids some extra motivation. Treating them to a hot chocolate at a cafe, or visiting a pond to feed some ducks, will help to make the activity even more special.

Turn Household Chores into a Workout

Ok, so the idea of turning household chores into a workout may not seem like much fun at first, but hear this out…

Just like with gardening, household chores require the body to perform such a wide range of motions, giving you a great workout.

The trick to getting the whole family involved is to make it fun, by adding in some music and a competitive edge.

The music needs to be energetic and fast-paced, and you should try to get each family member to contribute to the playlist, as everyone will have certain tunes that motivate them.

You need to make sure that you also time this chore workout well…

You don’t want to do it before a mealtime, when everyone is hungry and cranky. You also don’t want to do it after a meal, when everyone is full.

Wondering how to actually turn those boring chores into a competitive workout?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Wash the car within a certain length of time, competing to see whose side is the cleanest
  • See who can tidy away the most items in a certain amount of time, but make sure that everyone squats instead of bending down normally
  • Everyone takes a window or a wall to clean, competing to see who can do the best job the fastest
  • Play a guessing game with laundry items, before giving each family member their own items to fold
  • Get everyone making some bread, as the kneading process gives the arms a great workout
  • Use step trackers to see who takes the most steps when doing chores for 20 minutes. Many smartphones already have a step tracker in them, saving you from having to purchase dedicated trackers for each family member

Try Different Sports

Sports games can be so much fun, to the point where you often forget how long you have actually been exercising for.

Learning a new sport can be even more exciting, and there are so many different sports out there that you and your family could try.

In addition to providing some good ol’ fashioned fun, regularly playing family sports games will result in the following:

  • Better learning skills, and therefore better academic results
  • Improved problem-solving and teamwork skills
  • Gives the body a workout, keeping it healthy
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence
  • Reduced stress

So, which sports should you try playing with your family?

Well, that depends…

If there is already a sport that every member of your family enjoys playing, you could try to improve your skills in this. Sign your family up for a class, or enter yourselves into a local tournament.

On the other hand, if your family isn’t naturally inclined to sports…

Keeping things varied will help to make the activities more fun.

Try having each family member pick a sport that they would want to try, and then you could alternate which one you do each week.

A few ideas would be:

  • Cricket
  • Boxing
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Frisbee
  • Table tennis

Father and child playing basketball

Even something like bowling would still ensure that your family are on their feet for a few hours.

You could make things more interesting by having rewards for the winning team or “punishments” for the losing team. For example, the losing team would need to cook the family meal that night, or the winning team would be able to decide what to watch on TV for that week. This will give everyone the motivation to put their all into the activity.

Make Some Exercise Cards

Have you heard of exercise cards before?

They’re an increasingly popular way to plan a workout.

Each card in the deck would feature a specific workout, whether this may be a bodyweight exercise, a stretch, or anything else.

Exercise cards are available pre-printed, but since this is an activity that you are basing around your family, you may find it more useful to create your own deck of cards.

Why?

Because this way you can incorporate exercise that fit your family’s specific skills and requirements. You can add in plenty of fun games, such as the jump roping mentioned above, to keep your kids interested.

Once you have your deck of exercise cards together, set aside some time for your family workout. Then, get everyone in the family to pick one or two cards from the deck, before combining these all together to create your unique routine.

You can keep things interesting by alternating the location of your workouts. While there is nothing wrong with doing these at home or in your backyard, taking your deck to a local park or hiking trail will instantly make the workout seem so much more exciting.

Exercising is something that every family should be doing together, but it can definitely be tricky to find activities that the whole family can enjoy. Each of these activities will provide your family with a fantastic workout, while keeping them motivated and engaged at the same time.

Woman learning how to swim

Adult Swim Lessons Mean A Safer Summer

Everyone tries to look cool in the summer.  In fact, a good portion of fashion is dedicated to discovering and promoting the latest styles  in beachwear, swimwear and shorts.   So how’s this for a look?  A killer bikini, a huge sunhat, serious sunglasses, a kick board, life jacket, and arm floats.  Ok, not how you were picturing yourself this summer?  Point taken, but the truth is, knowing how to swim is important for summer safety and swim lessons are not just for children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, about 30% of adults in the United States can’t swim the length of a typical recreation center pool and adults make up more than 70% of drowning deaths in the U.S.

Why is it that so many adults have never learned to swim?  Some may have grown up in urban areas where access to a pool was limited. Some are afraid, and many are embarrassed. But whatever the cause, it can be agreed that teaching adults to swim takes a special touch.  John Fitzpatrick, owner and head coach of swim facility, Chicago Blue Dolphins says adults are “very results focused.” They have no patience for learning activities like floating and kicking, they just want to be swimming.  Lori Pailet, founder and director of Aqua Skills recounts a tale of one adult student who became so frustrated, he began smacking the water with a foam noodle.

However, despite the apparent frustration, Pailet reports that the number of adults in her practice has doubled in recent years and clientele normally increases by 15 to 25% per years.

Why Should You Learn To Swim? Need some motivation?  How about this?

Personal Safety
As much as you may try to avoid it,  you will probably, at some point in your life, find yourself near water. I mean, what happens when George or Leo invite you on their yacht or your fiancé wants to romance you on a cruise ship?  If the water is deeper than you are tall, knowing how to swim will definitely come in handy.

Rescuing Others
According to the CDC, more that 3,400 people in the US die from drowning every year.  If you know how to swim, you will be better prepared to save a life.  Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14.

Health
Swimming counts as both cardio and muscle toning, so you’ll earn brownie points for both. Swimming hits underworked muscles and, since the water provides natural resistance, the exercise is low impact.  (Bonus- no sweating involved!)

Pleasure
Not only does swimming relieve stress, it is also a social activity.  You may just meet your perfect mate while surfing or water skiing and you’ll get  a lot more exercise than swiping right on Tinder.

So put on those nose plugs and strap on that bathing cap,  and be proud!  You may end up saving a life and meeting your significant other at the same time.

Woman swimming

Public Pool Safety

Summer is here! The temperature is going up, and we are heading to the pool! Trips to the public pool should be fun, so follow these tips this summer to ensure that nothing will ruin your weekend!

Be Aware of Health Standards
We hate to say it, but some pools have been fined or closed for violating health and safety standards. When choosing a public pool to belong to for the summer, ask when the facility was last inspected. Management is usually happy to show you that they are in compliance with all safety standards, and you will get peace of mind!

Stay Hydrated!
Staying hydrated is one of the most important summer tips. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be a big problem during the summer months, and extended sun exposure can cause you serious harm if you aren’t drinking enough water.

Woman applying sunscreen

Slather on the Sunscreen
This is a no brainer. A long day at the pool can be a recipe for disaster if you’re not properly protecting your skin. It is a good idea to put on your sunscreen before you leave the house, at least 15 minutes before you’ll be out in the sun. Also, give your sunscreen plenty of time to sink in, and make sure that you aren’t rubbing off your SPF with your clothing. It’s easy to lose track of time during a day in the sun, but it is important to reapply your sunscreen every few hours- even more often when you’re in the water! The instructions on the bottle will let you know exactly how often to reapply any particular brand. Keep your skin protected at the pool, and don’t let an angry sunburn follow you to work on Monday!

Know Your Surroundings
This is especially important if you have kids. Anytime you are around water, there is danger, regardless of how well you or your family members know how to swim. Public pools can be crowded, and though lifeguards are well trained, it is possible that they will miss a warning sign if there are a lot of people to watch. Make sure you know where you kids are at all times. If you, or anyone in your family, are not  strong swimmers, take a special note of what areas of the pool are safe to be in, and what areas to avoid (deep water, steep inclines, drains, etc). Also, make sure that these areas are properly roped off to decrease the chances of mistakenly entering an unsafe area.

 

Don’t Go Overboard
No, we don’t mean falling into the water. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re having fun in the sun, but it is important to not go overboard, and limit your sun exposure. Too much sun during peak hours can cause serious burns, fatigue, dizziness, heat rash, and several other not so fun complications. Play it safe, and take breaks from the sun every so often so you can enjoy the pool all summer long!