Runs in the Family


Welcome to 2020! As I spent this past holiday season surrounded by relatives of every stripe, it got me thinking about how families can enjoy fitness together. Let’s kick the new year off right by examining just a few ways families can stay active, healthy and have fun while doing so.

1. Explore the Neighborhood

Round up the whole family (Fido, too!) for a daily excursion into your immediate surroundings. Whether you walk, waddle, jog or bike, drinking in the sights and sounds of your neighborhood offers a fun family bonding experience. You may get to know your neighbors a little better while you’re at it.

2. Join a Gym

Your local rec center, gym or YMCA probably offers family membership packages. Depending on the facility, your family will have the opportunity to swim, jog, cycle, take fitness classes and participate in organized sports. Smaller tikes might take tumbling or gymnastics classes while older siblings can enjoy basketball, frisbee golf or even martial arts. For those in harsher climates (on either end of the temperature spectrum), a community gym offers a cozy respite from exercising in the great outdoors.

3. A Chart and a Challenge

We’re all familiar with the dreaded “Chore Chart.” But what if you gave yours a fitness twist? Create a chart with the name of each family member and their fitness goals for the week. Post it in an easily accessible space and help each other remain accountable. Hold a weekly family discussion to talk about how the week went, any fun experiences, and plans for the future. Goals should be easily attainable for each member, depending on their age and ability.

4. Organized Play

Playing together, whether through sports or physical hobbies, is a n excellent way for the whole family to keep active and get away from “screens” for a while. You’ll be having so much fun that the kids won’t even realize it’s exercise. And everyone will benefit from the opportunity to frolic, laugh and bond.

5. Participate in a 5k as a Family

Many 5k — and similar — races are family-friendly. Walk (with or without a stroller) or run at your own pace and then share in the joy of accomplishment when the whole family crosses the finish line. Get amped and enjoy some together-time while planning for the next one. Bonus points if you can combine this new passion with a charity that benefits your community. Imagine the sense of accomplishment and pride you will feel as a family.