by Gale Compton
Nothing is more important than the health of your family. With obesity rates at epidemic proportions, it’s important now, more than ever, to make healthy living a priority. We, at Skinny Ms., believe that one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to stay active and eat nutritiously is to make it a family affair. Families who get moving and take the time to make clean meals are not only healthier, but are also often happier. After all, the family who plays together, stays together, which is why we’ve put together a fitness challenge to get your family off the couch and out there enjoying all that healthy living has to offer. By committing to just 30 minutes each day, we believe that your family will see an enormous difference in your fitness levels, energy levels, health, happiness, and family bond.
Our Family Fitness Challenge encourages you to think outside of the gym and take advantage of your indoor and outdoor surroundings. Spend 30 minutes each day doing something active as a family. We’ve put together a list of fun ideas to help you think ‘outside of the box’. Remember, parents are a child’s role models, so if you’re having fun and making healthy living important, the kids will follow.
Tips to get you started:
- This challenge is voluntary. If teens aren’t so willing to participate in the beginning, don’t give up. Don’t be surprised if their interest is peaked after they see that it can actually be fun.
- Everyone should get to contribute to what fitness activities are incorporated. Take a vote or take turns choosing activities.
- Keep it positive and never allow anyone to poke fun of someone’s efforts.
- Create a log of family activities.
- Don’t forget that exercise and clean eating go hand-in-hand. Check out these Healthy Meal Options that Kids Love.
Here’s your Family Fitness Challenge:
Below are suggestions to make the next 30 days—and beyond—a BIG success.
1) Take a hike. Hiking is a great way to stay fit without even realizing that you’re working hard. Do some research to find scenic hikes in your area that are easy-to-moderate difficulty. Put together a list of natural elements for your kids to find on your journey. For example, look for a purple flower, a heart-shaped rock, or a good climbing tree. Make it a contest to see which family member can find the most items. Bring some of these 50 Clean-Eating Snack Ideas along.
2) Ride a bike. Go for a family ride around the neighborhood. Make one of these popsicle recipes ahead of time to enjoy when you return.
3) Play a game of soccer (or football, or baseball, or hockey…). Make traditional games even more fun by coming up with your own family rules or providing incentives for the winners. Losers do dishes?
5) Go for a walk. When the weather is nice, head outside for a family walk. Set a goal of how many miles a week you will walk as a family and record your efforts. Choose a family-fun destination that is 50 miles away, or more, on a map and see if your family can log enough miles over the course of a season to reach the spot. Perhaps, treat the family to a trip there when you reach your goal.
6) Stock up. Purchase toys or equipment related to fitness when buying a gift for a family member. Encourage others outside of the family to do the same.
7) Take the stairs. Encourage everyone in the family to use the stairs instead of the elevator, no matter where the are.
14) Have a treasure hunt. Hide something valuable, maybe a little money, or a special treat and put together a map for discovering where it is hidden. Make sure everyone gets a turn. Add a little challenge by coming up with rules to follow while hunting. For example, everyone has to skip or walk with high knees from location to location.
15) Take the dog for a walk. Both Fido and the family will get the exercise they need. Have pre-teen children? Encourage them to start a dog-walking business to bring in a little extra spending money.
16) Don’t be afraid to hoof it. Park the car at the far end of the parking lot when shopping. Explain to the children the importance walking has on health.
17) Go old school. Remember Hot Potato and Sack Races? O.K., so they’re a little out dated…but they’re fun and something the whole family can participate in while having a big laugh at the same time. Check this out:
17) Turn up the music. Dancing is a great way to have fun and burn some calories (or energy) in the process. Play a game of Freeze Dance or Musical Chairs.
19) Take a pushup challenge. Start with a round of pushups and track everyone’s progress throughout the month. Check out Push-Ups for Kids.
20) Get charitable. Train together for a charity walk or run in your community. Choose a charity together, here are fantastic walking opportunities to help others.
23) Make a family fitness video. This goofy activity will get everyone moving and laughing at the same time. Put together the fitness video as if you are planning to sell it. Plan out what exercises will be on the video, what role everyone will have, how long the video will be and have fun! We’d love to have your video posted on Skinny Ms Fitness Facebook.
24) Turn off the t.v. and bust out the Charades. The rule is when it’s your turn to act out, you first have to do 20 jumping jacks. Here’s how:
25. Get creative. Look for new or unusual ideas that the whole family can enjoy. Put together your own Ultimate Frisbee team, Hula Hoop contest, or Nerf Ball Challenge.
26. Build a fort. What kid wouldn’t love building a fort with the family? In the winter months, try building a fort of blankets throughout the house.
27. Have a relay. Put together a list of activities for each family member, or team, to complete. Keep track of your time and try to beat it each time. Think creatively, like: run backward to the living room, put a towel on your head, spin around three times, go upstairs to the bathroom, grab a piece of toilet paper, and run back to the beginning. Make up your own zany ideas to keep it fun.
28. Turn on the video games. Not all video games are created equal. Today’s technology has offered hundreds of physically demanding options. Hold your own Wii baseball game or Dance, Dance Revolution party in your living room.
29. Wash the car. Water and soap suds? That’s enough to make any small child happy. Have an older kid? Try offering up an incentive, like tonight’s dinner choice or extra t.v. time. When all else fails, a few dollars in a pre-teen’s pocket can go a long way.
30. Pick up a new skill. Always wanted to learn to juggle or do “the worm”? There’s no better time than today to learn. Learning a new skill can not only keep you active, but is good for the brain, too!
Check out this video for three more family fitness ideas:
Keep us posted on your family fitness challenge. Make this next 30 days fun, memorable, and the beginning to a lifetime of fitness. Enjoy!