If your family’s typical summer holiday involves lying on the sofa all day watching the latest Netflix offering, then something needs to change. Family fitness is important, and being active is an essential part of that. With the heatwave more or less over, now is the perfect time to get out and get active with the family.
Why it’s important to boost family fitness
Being active is an important part of staying healthy, and is important for people of all ages. There are guidelines in place that state that the recommended amount of physical activity for children and young people should be around 60 minutes a day, and adults are recommended to carry out 150 minutes a week. This should be a combination of both cardiovascular exercise and strength-based exercise to improve overall fitness and heart health, as well as build stronger muscles and bones.
Getting fit as a family can help bring you all closer together, supporting each other to work hard, have fun and help you all to develop healthier habits going forward.
10 ideas to get the whole family active over the summer
Keen to get started? Here are 10 ideas to make improvements to your family fitness this summer.
1. Get on your bikes
Why drive when you can cycle? Instead of piling in the car to go to the shops or for a day out, why not cycle instead? Cycling can be a fun family fitness activity, especially if you all enjoy being outdoors. Try cycling around your local cycle path or get a bike rack and drive to the country – make sure you’re all equipped with helmets so you can all enjoy a safe bike ride together.
2. Go swimming
Want to cool off from the summer heat? Go swimming with the family! Your local pool or fitness centre is a great way to spend summer afternoons. You can swim laps while the kids play – the time will soon fly by! It’s worth looking to see if there are public lidos located near you to enable you to enjoy swimming outdoors and soak up the sun while you’re there – who needs a holiday?
3. Wake up early and walk
While we all need a lie in now and again, it doesn’t hurt to get up early during the summer holidays and get the day started. Get everyone up and go for a walk, perhaps to the supermarket to pick up breakfast supplies so you can all work up an appetite for it and get the day off to a productive start.
4. Go hiking
If a morning walk isn’t challenging enough, then perhaps a hike would be more appropriate? By going for a family hike up a mountain or local beauty spot, you’ll get the chance to really stretch your legs and improve your fitness. Pack a picnic and enjoy a fun (and cheap) day out together which will help you tackle all sorts of different challenges.
5. Buy a trampoline
A trampoline might seem like it’s just for fun, but it can actually provide a really effective workout for the family. Trampoline workouts allow you to easily burn calories through low-impact exercises, meaning people of all fitness levels and ages can use it to get fit.
6. Set challenges for yourselves
Want to ensure the whole family gets moving? Making things competitive is one way to ensure an overall improvement in family fitness. Why not challenge everyone to running a certain distance or complete a certain number of reps of different exercises? Agree on some goals and give everyone a deadline. Offering some kind of prize to the winner could also help to motivate everyone to work harder to achieving their fitness goals.
7. Do some HIIT workouts
HIIT workouts are perfect for people who want to get fit without spending hours at the gym. Lasting 20-30 minutes, you complete different body strength exercises with minimal rest time in between to get your heart rate pumping and your metabolism climbing. There are some fantastic HIIT workouts you can do with your kids that are worth giving a go for a fun pre-dinner workout to boost family fitness.
8. Hold your own tennis tournaments
Tennis is a fun game to play with the family. It gets you moving, helps improve your balance and coordination and can help you improve your strength too. You don’t need to join your local tennis club to enjoy playing a game or two together – many local parks have their own tennis courts which are free for you to use.
9. Borrow a dog
If you don’t have a dog in the family, you might want to think about borrowing one instead. Many dog owners are desperate for people to walk their dogs during the day, while local shelters might also be on the lookout for volunteers. Borrowing a dog to take out to for walks and to play with can be great practice if your family is thinking of getting its own dog.
10. Get gardening
How’s your garden looking at the moment? If it could benefit from a facelift or a bit of TLC, then why not rope the whole family in to helping out? Give everyone a task to complete, or get everyone planting fruit and vegetables so that you can live a healthier lifestyle as a family. Gardening can be a relaxing activity, while being outdoors is great for your health. Ditch the screens for a while and get out in the garden to make the most of your outdoor space.
How to keep up healthy habits
After the summer is over and you head back to your old routine, don’t let your family fitness habits slip. While they might be more difficult to keep up now that you have to fit things in around work and school, if you’re serious about living a healthy lifestyle then you should make the time to fit it in.
Morning exercise is a good way to get it out of the way, and all you need to do is wake up half to an hour earlier to fit it in. Meanwhile, you could encourage your family to enrol in after school clubs and sports teams to keep them active, which will also help them to develop their social skills and widen their friendship circles.
Weekends can be busy, but your new found family fitness regime should help inspire you to find time for physical activity. They say it takes 30 days to form a habit, so in a matter of weeks you could potentially transform your whole family’s lifestyle for the better!
Family fitness is an important part of staying healthy, and can play a vital role warding off obesity and diabetes. Enjoy getting fit as a family this summer and enjoy a healthier, fitter lifestyle for all!