This post was made in partnership with NOW. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Staying active is so important for so many aspects of health. Exercise can have such a positive effect when it comes to heart health, maintaining a healthy weight and even stress relief. While we know that staying active and moving is beneficial, current events are making staying active tougher for many families.
We’re going on a month of social distancing and while we do our best to keep active, some days it feels like our house can explode with all the energy that these kiddos have. Gyms are closed, we’re sheltered-in-place in our home, stressed and we’ve lost our normal routines that we relied on to stick to our health goals. Add in energetic kiddos and finding ways to exercise, relieve stress and burn off some energy is a must!
A few of the things that have really helped our family stay more active during this time has been making activity a part of our daily routine. Since we’ve added learning at home to our list of “quarantine life” changes, gym/physical education has been added in daily. We’ve had to adapt and change our normal routines to more family-friendly options that allow everyone in our house to participate!
Every day we schedule in an activity that gets us moving and exercising. It’s a perfect break from learning time to allow my kiddos to have fun and let loose, while I take the time to hit reset and refuel my patience with a bit less structured work. Exercising has always been a great stress-reliever for me so it’s been a great way to help blow off some steam and anxious energy. Staying flexible about our activities, what we do and where we do it, has been a huge factor as well.
I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite family-friendly workouts and activities below! These family fitness ideas that will have you laughing, sweating and making fun memories along the way. All can be done with items you already have in your home or a little bit of creativity! Grab your kiddos, have fun and don’t miss out on my favorite healthier-for-you snacks below too!
4 Fun Exercises & Activities For Family Fitness
Driveway Chutes and Ladders
This life-size twist on a childhood favorite board game was so fun for everyone! The whole family can hop around the board with surprise slides and ladders to add some surprises. All you need is chalk and dice (or a spinner) and you’re ready to go!
To make your board game, use sidewalk chalk to make a large rectangle and divide into multiple squares (you can decide how many squares total, but I do recommend 50+ for ample space). Add ladders and slides throughout the board. We chose to make large dice with an old box, but you can always use regular dice or a spinner from board game that you already have. Take turns rolling the dice and advance the number of spaces you roll. If a player lands on a ladder, they climb higher. If a player lands on a chute/slide, they slide lower on the board. Whoever reaches the end first, wins!
Our entire family played this multiple times and loved it! Post-game time, the kiddos loved using the board game for a fun bike path.
Get creative and make an obstacle course inside or outside! You can have players compete for time or just let them run and play the course non-stop. Get creative with items that you already have around the house, add in a few basic body weight and exercises movements, and make it fun! A few ideas:
- Use masking or painting tape for spots to jump to and from
- Use sheets/blankets and furniture for fun areas to climb under or through
- Make exercise stations with tasks: burpees, crab walk, jumping jacks, push ups, froggy jumps, walk backwards, etc.
- Somersault from one area to another
- Piles of pillows/blankets to climb over
- Toss game (we used blocks and a laundry basket)
- String army crawl station (attach string low on walls and players have to army crawl through)
- Ring toss
This is one of my favorite midday breaks to help everything shake off bad moods and perfect for “brain breaks” when working or doing schoolwork. Blare your favorite music, get silly and dance. The DJ starts and stops the music as often as they like and everyone freezes when the music stops. Kids absolutely love this one, it requires no set up and a fun way to loosen up and dance away the stress!
Card Game Workout
Use a deck of cards to create a full body workout that includes body weights and cardio intervals that are guaranteed to get you sweating and muscles working hard (this massage oil is perfect for giving sore muscles some TLC). It requires minimal space and no equipment to make it simple (especially when you’re stuck at home)! Whether playing together as a family or as a way to switch up your normal workout, this game will definitely get you moving!
In this game, each suit represents a different kind of body exercise and you do as many reps as the number on the card.
- Heart: Push-up
- Spade: Squat
- Club: Tricep Dip
- Diamond: Lunge
Example: If you pull a 6 of hearts, you would do 6 push-ups.
Other ideas: Sit-ups, bridges, shoulder press (use water jugs as weights), leg lifts, obliques twists, planks with shoulder taps, etc.
Face cards are your cardio portion of the workout. Each face can be assigned a particular cardio inspired exercise that you complete for a specific duration (a good starting point is 1 minute).
- Heart: Burpees
- Spade: Jumping Jacks
- Club: High-Knees
- Diamond: Jump Squats
Example: if you pull a queen of spades, you’d do jumping jacks for 1 minute.
Other cardio ideas: mountain climbers, plank jacks, bird dogs, jump rope, kick box, sprints (if outside), jog in place, bear crawl push-ups, etc.
Don’t forget to enjoy some healthy snacks and drinks after all that running around. I love putting together a quick plate with lots of yummy goodies to let our family snack on afterwards. For healthy snacking, NOW Foods is one of my go-to brands – natural foods with no icky or questionable ingredients! A few family favorites are:
- Pineapple rings
- Honey Roasted Pecans
- Red Dragon Fruit Chips
- Nut Butters with fresh fruit, crackers, or veggies
If you have a little extra time or want some quick recipes to enjoy making together, these recipes are quick, simple and oh-so-yummy!
- Brownie batter hummus is another healthy and delicious option that tastes decadent and sweet, but is a healthier option! You won’t believe what it’s made of!
- These crunchy coconut clusters are a family favorite and so simple to make!
For rehydrating, my husband and I love the new NOW Sports Effer-Hydrate tablets – they’re loaded with electrolytes for rehydration and recovery.
For an extra Vitamin C boost, Effer-C Packets are a great option that are loaded with the essential vitamins and minerals necessary to support optimal wellness (we take these daily).*
Hope these gave you some fun, new ideas to get moving with your family!
What’s your family doing to stay active?
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.