1. Family exercise classes
Family exercise classes have something to suit everyone, whatever your interests or skills may be. For those who enjoy a loud, energetic and rhythmic workout, family Zumba classes are ideal. You can even take it one step further by participating in a Zumbathon! These are usually set up to raise money for charity and are much longer than a regular Zumba class.
If you fancy something at a slightly slower pace however, then why not try family-friendly yoga? Here you can breathe, stretch and flex your way through a workout. Also, with yoga-providers such as YogaBellies offering classes for Mums and babies, even the smallest members of the family can participate in this activity!
For families who want to try something a little bit different then Prama may be the answer. Never heard of it? Well, if not you are probably not alone as this particular activity (which is a bit like a sophisticated dance mat) was only introduced to the UK in 2017. There are just two gyms that offer Prama at the moment but more openings are on the horizon.1
2. Join an outdoor event near you
In the spring and summer months you may want to swap the exercise class for an outdoor activity in order to get the family outdoors. If this is the case you could join an outdoor event near you.
Parkrun UK organise free, weekly 5k races across the country which are ideal for running fans. Not only does this get everyone out in the fresh air, it’s also very social and there’s the opportunity to meet other families.
Similarly, GO TRI organise running, swimming and cycling events across the UK to encourage families to give a triathlon a go and to improve their fitness in the process.
Yet another adventurous option for families is an obstacle course. Yes, you can find these in the local park but for an adult and child-friendly version take a look at the Muscle Acre’s website.
This one has long been a family favourite but, not only is it lots of fun, it’s also excellent for our health and wellbeing. Swimming can improve muscle strength, it builds up stamina and it helps us maintain a healthy weight. So, next time it is raining at the weekend, why not head down to your local pool?
4. Ball games in the park
Baseball, basketball, football and rugby – there are so many options to choose from when it comes to playing ball games in the park. You could even get the competition going with a game of rounders or dodgeball!
Exercising as a family doesn’t always have to cost the earth and, in fact, it can be relatively straight forwards too. Simply put on some music, for example, and dance together. In the comfort of your own home or garden there’s no need to be self-conscious about it - you can be as wild and care-free as you like!
6. Walks in the countryside
This is another great option if you want to exercise as a family without spending lots of money. A trip to your local country park gets everyone outdoors which provides a good dose of vitamin D and can even boost your mood. There are a range of other benefits of being outdoors, though, which you can read about in my blog ‘5 benefits of exercising outdoors’.
Whether you are heading to the shops or somewhere further afield (such as your nearest country park, perhaps?), taking bikes and scooters allows for a more strenuous workout. If you fancy doing a little bit of exploring, the UK also has an extensive cycle network. These are quiet, traffic-free paths making them ideal for days out with the family.
8. Arrange a family sports day
To hold a family sports day you must first organise some games such as the egg and spoon race, the sack race, a three legged race and the 100m. Next, invite some family and friends round, then in your local park or in the back garden set out the course for these races. This is an excellent option in summer and is both fun and active. Why not make it a big event and get the BBQ going as well?
9. Outdoor pursuits
For the more adventurous family, outdoor pursuits are an excellent way to get active together. Depending on your interests, you could pick from things like climbing, kayaking, archery and gorge walking.
A simple internet search will highlight the companies in your area offering these kinds of activities however, if you want to go further there are even parent and child activity breaks. This is a great way to have fun and get away from technology and the stresses of everyday life.
A trip to the driving range or, alternatively, a game of mini golf, crazy golf or putting are yet more examples of family-friendly sports. These activities are gentler than some of the others I’ve mentioned so may suit those family members unable to do a more strenuous activity.
Here in the UK this activity has gained popularity in recent years with trampolining centres “jumping” up all over the place. Trampolining builds strength and it burns calories at almost twice the rate of jogging so there is a lot to be gained from doing it. I can assure you that bouncing around on a trampoline is also a lot more fun that being on a treadmill!
12. Roller skating
Similar to trampolining, roller skating is becoming increasingly popular and skating rinks can now be found across the UK. Venues usually hold discos, classes and regular skating sessions for all the family. Here you can hire equipment so, if you just want to try the activity out, you needn’t invest in expensive gear.
Roller skating is a low-impact sport that works the muscles in the back and hamstrings. If your family wants to take it up a notch however, a trained professional can even teach tricks and flips.
Most venues allow wheelchairs on the skating rink and even hold specialised coaching sessions for those with a disability meaning this is an activity that really can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.
Recover with Balance!
If all these activities leave you feeling a little weary then you may benefit from our Balance Mineral Drink. It contains vitamins and minerals including magnesium, vitamin D, zinc, calcium and potassium which together help fight fatigue. This combination of ingredients also helps to tackle aching muscles, a problem that may occur if your body isn’t used to doing a particular activity (such as roller skating, family-friendly yoga or trampolining!)
Just remember that Balance is only suitable for children over the age of 16 so, unfortunately, this is one that only the adults can benefit from.
How do you motivate your family to exercise?
Sadly, nowadays the lure of television and games consoles makes it much more challenging to get children to exercise. As a result of this, some children may need to be persuaded to swap the remote control for swim shorts.
1) Make it fun – race in the swimming pool, take a Frisbee to the park, let them ride their scooter to the shops
2) Let them pick the activity – kids will be more likely to participate and enjoy an activity if they’ve had a part in deciding to do it
3) Praise kids for doing the activity – words of encouragement will help motivate children to keep going
4) Turn it into an adventure – that walk in the countryside could become a wildlife trail or a hike through the wilderness… Imagination is key!
5) Lead by example – if children see the adults around them exercising on a regular basis they’ll begin to see it as a normal part of day-to-day life, plus they’ll get to see the benefits too.
Benefits of exercising as a family
First off, exercising as a family keeps everyone fit and healthy and, since child obesity figures are on the rise, this is important now more than ever. It is also an excuse to get children (and adults) away from technology which is a big, and sometimes problematic, part of our lives.
On top of this, each of the activities listed above give families an opportunity to spend time together. As you work through the challenges involved in the likes of ice skating and climbing, communication skills improve and you may find you become a little closer because of it.
Finally, exercising as a family establishes good habits. Children begin to see exercise as a normal part of everyday life, as well as something that’s fun. Therefore, as children get older they’ll be more likely to keep this positive association and stick to their good exercise habits.