We all know how important it is to keep the family fit, but unfortunately that doesn't always mean it's our top priority. While some of us love exercising and some of us hate it, there are so many things in everyday family life that get in our way – from homework to housework, play dates to deadlines, cooking and grocery shopping – you name it!
So how do you go about making sure that fitness is part of your family’s day-to-day? One of the best ways to make being active a habit is to do things that you’ll all enjoy. By looking at what sort of interests your family has and how active they are naturally, it’s easy to come up with ways to get you all interested in working out.
Whether you are more couch potato than Olympian or the more adventurous type who loves outdoor activities, we've rounded up some great ways to get your family moving no matter your collective fitness skills.
The accidentally sporty family
- Your son is a footie fanatic and your daughter looks like a princess in her ballet gear. Mum dabbles in yoga to find her Zen and Dad follows Formula One.
- You shy away from the term exercise and feel like staying active is an uphill battle.
- You always try to do what is sportingly required of you, but there’s a line... and it’s usually not the finishing one!
- While you may be more lounger than high-flier, when you find something you like you're happy to spend hours on end doing it.
HOW TO GET ACTIVE:
1. Turn everything into a game
You're family does best when they don't realise they're being sporty, so concentrate on having fun instead. An easy way to do this is by playing team sports such as family football games. Why not get in the mood for Rio by hosting your own sports day in the comfort of your own living room or garden? You can download free invitations, score sheets, instructions for games such as Discus (throwing paper plates) as well as medals to craft – and even ideas for your opening and closing ceremonies online.
Plan it: activityvillage.co.uk
2. Go for novelty
New and different are what's sure to get your family interested, so sign them up for tasters of every new and hybrid class going. Try something like Footgolf, the new craze of combining football with golf! Open to all ages, you can play it on public golf courses around the country. Follow the standard golf course set-up, but kick a ball into football-sized holes. Just beware – the usual hazards such as bunkers apply!
Plan it: ukfootgolf.com
3. Find an interesting angle
Look for ways to incorporate other activities you enjoy. Love TV? Have a game of Supermarket Sweep around your backyard to get the blood pumping. Or if you're looking for something bigger, the cult 90s TV gameshow The Crystal Maze is currently running in London. Run around the Aztec and Medieval Zones tackling a series of tests – such as catapulting dinosaur eggs into giant nests to create stepping-stones – and earn crystals, before scrambling for gold tokens in the Crystal Dome. Amazing!
Plan it: the-crystal-maze.com
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The uber-fit family
- You’re a family of gym buffs. Your kids are proud school sports captains, Dad has serious muscle and Mum’s figure is the envy of the Zumba class.
- You all can be best found in fitness gear, taking on a new challenge and running rings around the competition.
- You're the envy of the neighbourhood and triathlons are effortless for you. In fact, you’re regularly fundraising for your latest challenge!
- Competitive is the word! You don't need much encouragement to get moving other than competing against one another to be the fittest.
HOW TO GET ACTIVE:
1. Turn to tech
You may be great at what you do but it's all about taking it to the next level. Download a free virtual personal trainer onto your phone to put you through your paces at home – pushing you to meet your goals by pitting you against each other and relentlessly tracking your progress. With over 1,300 exercises (including burpees and mountain climbers – yikes!) it’s a PT in your pocket.
Plan it: Free at jefit.com
2. Tackle more obstacles
You can walk, run, climb you name it, but keep it interesting by trying new challenges as a family, such as tricky obstacle courses and new adrenaline-inducing activities. Climb walls, scramble across cargo nets, and abseil down towers to test your limits. Or why not get up to the treetops by riding zip wires and Tarzan Swings, available at various locations round the country.
3. Play team sports
Channel all that competitive energy into extreme team sports – the more unusual the better! The great thing about going head to head is that no two matches are the same, meaning your restless crowd never gets bored. Want to really take it to the next level? Don your army gear and fight it out with friends and family at outdoor infrared laser tag combat game Battlefield Live in Harrogate. There’s all the adrenaline of paintball, but without messy paint or bruises!
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The outdoorsy family
- You're a family of explorers – and proud! Mum’s part of a hiking group, Dad takes the dog for a walk down the beach and the kids love mountain climbing and swimming in the sea.
- You like to roam outside and be at one with nature, whether it’s hiking with the dog on a Sunday or heading to the coast in the summer with a kite. You're so dedicated to the outdoors in fact, that you can regularly be caught walking the moors in the depths of winter!
- You make the most of your bank holidays by exploring new hills, valleys and forests and climbing mountains in the UK, and never leave the house without your walking boots, 1000 Mile socks, and compass at the ready!
HOW TO GET ACTIVE:
1. Get off your feet
You may love ambling in the countryside, but up the ante by dusting off your bikes and going on a cycle trail. You'll be pleasantly surprised by just how far you can get off your feet and how much you’ll see. Check out The National Cycle Network to take on some of the toughest and most beautiful terrains. With over 10,000 miles of signed cycle routes including canal towpaths and charming country roads you can't go wrong, such as the legendary freshwater Loch Katrine in the Trossachs National Park in Scotland.
Plan it: sustrans.org.uk
2. Partner up with animals
You may love the outdoors, but have you tried exploring it from a different perspective? Take your treks to the extreme by pairing them with animal partners such as horses or huskies. Thought you could only mush in cold countries? Head to North York Moors National Park. With 30 sled dogs to meet – including rescue dogs – you'll never look back.
Plan it: peskyhusky.co.uk
3. Master new terrain
There’s nothing like the salty sea air, so consider going one step further and taking to the seas to explore the coast, by kayaking or surfing your way around the country.
For example, in south Devon, you can kayak around lagoons and sea caves, spotting seals and otters, or for those more North, explore the stunning coast and lochs near Fort William, Scotland.
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