Summer is the perfect time to get your whole family involved with fitness. The weather’s good, its sports day at school and everyone’s looking forward to the summer holidays- summer makes you feel just so much better!
Being active as a family can be so much fun and by making it fun to stay active, you can keep your kids fit and healthy without them even realising!
So what are you waiting for?
Set a goal
The first thing you need to help you boost your fitness levels is a goal to aim for. Whether that’s a race around the block, your first ParkRun, two miles on the beach on holiday or our very own Fitness First School Run, the world is your oyster, so set a target and go for it!
“Exercising and keeping fit as a family is a great idea as it is not only fun but can really help motivate all members of the family,” says Jenny Meadows, Olympian, British record-holder and former Schools’ champion.
“We all know our own strengths and weaknesses in terms of fitness so by involving your children in your fitness journey, you help the family work as a team to achieve goals together. It’s also an opportunity to spend valuable time with one another. The experiences that you share as a family through exercising together can also transfer into other aspects of family life.”
Make exercise part of your everyday family routine
To help get kids and parents active together, Fitness First has launched a campaign called ‘The School Run’. We’re encouraging parents to get active with their kids and run their route to school for the nationwide School Run Week starting on Monday 25th June to help promote family fitness.
Helmed by husband-and-wife team Una and Ben Foden, Fitness First has also launched a new family fitness guide, with a selection of exercise routines designed to keep kids entertained and get the whole family moving in sync.
Jenny’s 5 great ideas to get you ready for that run
1. Do some Usain Bolt impressions
Let’s get things going with a few sprints. Line up and run three 30m sprints full out to see who wins. It’s simple as that. It’ll be fun - and you know what, it’ll be doing you some good. Sprinting develops power and mobility and in actual fact is good for endurance as well - so top marks for everybody who gives it a go. And don’t forget the special Usain wave at the end.
2. Copy England’s greats
Our country has a strong track record of world-class relay teams. By taking a page out of Team GB’s book, we can enjoy a fun relay race ourselves. Two teams, legs of about 50m: nothing more, nothing less. Again, simple and fun.
3. Put one leg in front of the year!
Long-distance running often sounds unappealing to kids, so here’s a great way to fool everybody into some endurance work: create a centipede! Simply circle the track or a field inline. The runner in last place then sprints to the front, slots into the lead and eases back to a jog. Next, the last runner repeats and so on… Before you know it, that’s a mile gone and you’d worked superbly to achieve that. The more the merrier! One mile is probably enough.
4. Time to learn a new skill
Most families enjoy a little bit of friendly competition. My favourite game or activity for the family is a coordination challenge. Whilst maintaining an upright stance, bring your right foot up to your knee or waistline (dependent on flexibility) and tap it with your left hand. Then bring your left foot up to your knee or waistline and tap it with your right hand. Repeat this process behind your back by bringing your right foot up towards your bottom and tap it with your left hand, then do the same with the left foot and right hand. It may sound simple but give it a go as it certainly makes you have to think! This is a cost-free way of having a little fun as a family and seeing who is the most coordinated. Once you have mastered the skill then try to speed up the action. Remember, the emphasis is on working with the opposite foot and the opposite hand in front of the body first and then behind the body. You may want to develop this into a race, so find a 20-metre space where you can all line up and then try to complete the 20-metre distance as fast as possible whilst maintaining the coordination skill. You will definitely have the opportunity to laugh at yourself and others and will be sure to draw other people’s attention if you do this outside of the home.
5. Animal magic
This is a great way to work mobility and speed - for you and the family. Mark out a small square, say 20 feet by 20 feet, which will be where the game takes place. Now allocate one of the family to be ‘it’. That person will name an animal (say, a kangaroo) and you all have to hop around to avoid being tagged by the person who is it (also impersonating a kangaroo). After 20 seconds, the person who is "it" nominates the next person, who will have to nominate another animal. It's a quick-thinking and fast-moving game, and supplies plenty of fun for 15 minutes or so!
And don’t forget… it’s good for you too!
“Getting adults involved in physical activity with the kids it can have some many positive benefits, especially if you don’t regularly exercise,” says Jenny. “As adults, we often put exercising off as we are too busy to find the time. Exercising with your kids is the perfect way of solving that problem! Lots of children’s activities involve skills that we may not have practised for years so it’s a great opportunity to revisit some of these skills, have fun and get fitter as a result.”