Family Exercise: Tips To Get Your Family Moving

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 8:57am

By Stacy Popke

Getting your whole family involved in physical activity shouldn’t require bribes or threats. If you plan it right—and create the right atmosphere—you can have them begging to exercise with you. Here are some helpful tips:

Try exercise videos the whole family can enjoy

Choose exercise videos that every member of your family will enjoy. Or, if you’re not sure what they’ll like, let them take turns choosing. Search for that perfect DVD at your local library or online at sites like Is your husband a devoted golfer? There are workouts devoted to strengthening the muscles specifically used for playing golf. Even non-golfers will benefit from the exercises, and they might become motivated to try a new sport!

Do you have children who like to dance? There are a variety of dance-inspired workout videos, and some are specifically geared for younger audiences. Choices range from instructional to fantasy. There are even videos that mimic real dance instruction, complete with a teacher and classroom. Alternatively, you and the kids can take the dancing somewhere fun, like in park where there’s a band playing.

Dance, compete, play games as a family!

Teach your children the popular dance moves you enjoyed when you were younger. Learn some new dances yourself by having the kids show off their cool moves. The laughter alone is bound to burn some calories.

Have a competition. Whether it’s to see who can hula-hoop the longest or run the fastest, a friendly competition may be the perfect incentive for enticing your family off the couch. If your group isn’t all that competitive, then get them motivated to help a good cause. Many walking and running events enable you to raise money for charities. You can do a Google search for events in your area.

Throw a party. It could be at your local roller rink, at the beach, or in your own backyard. Parties don’t necessarily cost a lot. A beach party is always fun. Bring a volleyball and Frisbee—or whatever beach sports your family enjoys—and prepare to sweat.

Promote a good diet and healthy sleep habits

Keep healthy snacks available. Instead of nicknaming lazy people “couch potatoes”, they should be called “couch donuts.” I can’t name one single person I know who watches lots of TV and eats heaps of vegetables every day. So pile on the fruit and veggies; your family needs the nutrients to maximum their energy levels. And remember, supplements like multivitamins and dietary drinks are useful, but don’t contain all the nutrients found in natural foods. In addition, remember that tired family members make for lousy workout buddies. Enforcing a decent bedtime ensures no one has any excuses when it comes time to get active.

Above all, make exercise look enticing. Keep it playful and positive. And soon, you’ll have one of the healthiest families on the block.

For more ideas on providing healthy snacks see the following articles from TheDietChannel: 5 Tips For Getting Your Kids to Eat Better This Summer, Making Fruits and Vegetables Fun To Eat and Snacks: Guidelines for healthy habits.

A former weight training instructor and Montessori school teacher, Stacy Popke works as a freelance writer specializing in fitness-related articles.