We went to Rhode Runner in Providence, RI to present this topic on The Rhode Show! Click here to watch this episode!
Have you thought about how great it would be to include your familyin your pursuit to exercise more regularly? Family exercise will improve the healthof your loved ones, make exercise more fun, and at the same time develop stronger connections between all of you. With a little creativity, you can find a way to make it work for everyone!
Where to Start?
First, set some realistic goals for your family:
o How many days per week can everyone commit?
o How many hours per week will be appropriate for your family?
o Ensure that exercising will not become a “chore” or a mundane task for everyone by establishing realistic goals!
o Remember: you can always adjust your fitness schedule!
Next, determine the level of fitness that is most appropriate:
o Depending on the age of your children, your exercise choices may vary.
o What type of fitness exercises will be fun and appealing to your family?
§ Indoor fitness?
§ Outdoor fitness?
§ At home exercising?
§ Organize sports?
§ Local fitness organizations?
Last, determine your exercises!
o Combine exercise and household chores. On small pieces of paper, write down chores and body weight exercises. Throw the papers into a couple of hats and have everyone pick one of each. Maybe Dad gets to clean the bathroom and do a set of squats every few minutes until he is finished, while one of the children is cleaning the kitchen and doing forward lunges, etc—the combinations are endless. Mix it up with yard work, seasonal chores, and even some aerobic components like jumping rope.
o Hire a certified personal trainer to design a program for each family member based on their individual needs, and then work out together. If Mom is looking to tone her body and her teenage daughter wants to improve her basketball conditioning, a similar circuit can be set up at home, indoors and outdoors, to achieve both.
o Have each family member pick an exercise at the beginning of the week and do as many reps as they can. Then train throughout the week with the goal of improving by the weekend. The family member who has the highest percentage increase is rewarded with something small (but motivating). Keep the focus on the fact that everyone is improving.
o Designate one evening as family fitness night. Each week, a different person designs the family workout that you will all do together. Whether it’s swimming, rollerblading, walking, Frisbee golf, or a two-on-two basketball game—everyone gets to do something they enjoy, and your workout will never become dull.
o Buy small pieces of equipment to keep around the house. Then make some fitness rules: Exercise during commercials every time you watch TV; stretch before bed each night. Purchase a few inexpensive items (jump rope, resistance bands, stability ball, dumbbells) and rotate them through the house on a daily basis. Treat them as scavenger hunt finds– if you find the jump rope placed in the garage, you have to use it for one minute. Next time you may find it on the porch, or in the basement.
o Each week, measure your fitness levels to determine your family’s overall fitness average. Add each person's own calculation of their level of fitness for the week; zero meaning they did nothing, and 7 meaning they exercised daily. Divide the total by the number of family members. Set a goal to average at least a 5 or 6 each week, rewarding the entire family if it's met.
o Most of all—make it fun for everyone! In the process, you’ll teach your children about discipline, goal setting, and the importance of not only health, but also family connection.
Heather is the Director of The Children's Workshop in Lincoln, RI. She first started her journey with the TCW family in 2007 in our Smithfield location as a Kindergarten teacher. She then entered the company's Management in Training Program, working in several of our locations while also training staff in various areas of early childhood education. She holds a BA from Providence College in Elementary and Special Education as well as a Master's Degree from Rhode Island College in Early Childhood Education. Her true passion is not only working with children, but sharing knowledge with families and teachers in order to provide the best early learning experience for all young learners. She is also a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Rhode Island Childcare Director’s Association, as well as the Rhode Island College Early Childhood Advisory Board.