A Family That Plays Together, Stays Fit Together

by John Rowley

A Family That Plays Together, Stays Fit Together

Make exercise feel like play and get the whole family involved

"Your life is going to change forever!" You heard it a million times before starting a family and one of the biggest adjustments has probably been to your exercise routine. Everyone knows the importance of exercise and instilling the habit into our kids—it can increase life expectancy, lower health risks, help control weight and improve work and school performance. And as an added bonus, it helps the kids burn off some of their extra energy.

But we can't expect our kids to care about the health benefits—their main priority is to have fun. As a parent, it's important to make exercise feel like play and get the whole family involved. So dig out your workout gear and sneakers for some fun-filled family activity. Whether you're a family who likes an adventure or the family that likes to lounge, there are activities you can do as a family that will keep the kids movin' and healthy while having fun along the way.

Head to the Playground

Kids love to spend time at the playground—swinging, sliding, climbing and playing tag. Aside from your kids getting a great workout, running around to keep up with them is a great workout for parents too!

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

If you're a family that loves to be adventurous and spend time outside, find activities that you can do as a family that will also keep you moving, like going on a family bike ride or hiking. In the winter months, head to the mountains and go skiing or snowboarding to sneak in some fitness.

Take Up a Family Sport

Organizing a family day of sports is a great and fun way to get in some family fitness. Head to the driveway and play some basketball or head to the backyard for some football or Frisbee. Don't forget to create some friendly competition. Are you the winning team? Make the losing team do 10 jumping jacks and 10 push-ups for even more movements.

Get a Furry Friend

The kids begging for a dog may not be a bad thing after all. Walking the dog daily and playing fetch will add up in the long run. Playing with your dog outside can burn about 100 calories in just a half hour.

Have a Dance Party

For musically talented families (and even for those who aren't), a dance party is fun way get the family moving and laughing. Your kids won't even realize they're exercising, and they'll improve their strength and agility all while having fun.

It's important to remember that as parents to put your best foot forward. How you incorporate family fitness is how your children will live the rest of the lives. Preaching about health and fitness will do little, but living it and practicing it at home and in the community over time will instill a healthy lifestyle in them without you ever saying a word.

John Rowley is a certified personal trainer, bestselling author and ISSA Director of Wellness. He is a widely recognized fitness health and wellness expert who helps others transform their bodies and helps them find their passion, purpose and drive for success in life. For more information on John Rowley or his books, "The Power of Positive Fitness" and "Climb Your Ladder of Success Without Running Out of Gas," visit