5 Ways to Exercise as A Family

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If you are among the many who find family to be one of the biggest sources of stress this time of year, let’s take a different approach to the next family gathering. Let’s make moves, together.

Families that move together, bond together. Studies show that when individuals engage in exercise together, afterwards they naturally feel happier with their relationship. Endorphins > stress = happiness. Let’s not forget, exercise is also a good way for us all to ward off that Santa stomach.

So, your approach for this holiday season: less fighting, more moving. If you feel the urge to snap at Uncle Bill, at your mom or dad, or to snap within your own self from stress, make moves instead. We’ve got 5 ideas below for doing it together.

1.  Walk It Out Pre- or Post- Meal

Consider making this one a ritual, whether you prefer to work up an appetite, or walk off a full stomach. Either are both great for not only exercising as a family, but also for catching up on each other’s day-to-day life. Whether it’s a stroll around the neighborhood, trip to the park, or hike up your favorite trail, consider scheduling this into the calendar at least once per week – during the holiday season and beyond!

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2. Boogie Down and Dance

Turn up your favorite tunes, and invite the room to dance. Depending on your family, this may or may not seem like an awkward activity at first, but pretty soon you’re bound to get the whole room smiling. Let each family member pick a song, and take turns creating new moves. This one’s all about getting a little silly as you sweat. (Yep, boogie fast enough and the sweat will follow.)

3. Turn TV Commercials into Gym Class

Watching the game this holiday? Take advantage of all those commercial breaks, and turn them into fitness games. Challenge each other to basic floor activities, like sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks and lunges, and get creative with how each fitness feat is carried out. Who can hold a plank for an entire commercial break? Which family member can do more lunges in between show time? For longer breaks, like a halftime show, consider stepping outside for a few to throw around a frisbee or play catch.

4.  Keep Healthy “Toys” on Hand

Free form fitness, via “toys” like hula hoops, jump ropes, and pogo sticks, can sometimes be the most mindless and encouraging way to exercise, especially for the little ones. By keeping a few of these items on hand, you’ll facilitate unstructured healthy activity on a daily basis, but be sure to remind the adults to lead by example. Remember, you’re never too old to have fun in the name of your health. Care for a game of ping pong, anyone?

5.  Set a Game Time

Set aside a time each week to get the whole family together for a game. Whether it’s kickball, bowling, basketball, or a 15-min. session of partner yoga, mix it up from week to week by letting each family member choose a new theme each time. For the holidays, consider an active version of Charades. Encourage each family member to throw a few clever, exercise-required ideas into a hat, and get acting!

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