18 Easy Ideas for Family-Friendly Exercise

April 15, 2016, 12:41pm EDT

Physical activity doesn’t always have to mean hitting a gym. If working with confusing equipment intimidates you, you have other options to get your whole family moving. It’s important to find out what your children enjoy, so they are more likely to stick with it and remain interested. You may need to try new things if their preferences change as they get older.

By participating in fun physical activities throughout the year, children learn the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Leading by example will teach your kids the value of exercise and physical activity while keeping them healthy.

Here are a few examples of fun activities that the whole family may enjoy:

Indoor Activities: Can be done with the family throughout the year:

  • Walking around the mall
  • Visiting a science or natural-history museum
  • Doing household chores as a family
  • Playing video games that encourage physical activity (dancing games, fitness games, etc.)
  • Encouraging and participating in active games within the house (Simon says, hide and seek, charades)
  • Indoor sports at a community center (basketball, swimming, tennis, etc.)
  • Indoor sports at a rink (ice/roller skating)

Outdoor Activities: Can be done with the family depending on the season or weather:

  • Family hike or nature walk
  • Charity walks or fun-runs
  • Visiting a zoo
  • Playing outdoor sports or activities in the back yard or park (kite flying, catch, Frisbee, tag, volleyball, touch football, etc.)
  • Going to an outdoor rink (ice/roller/inline skating)
  • Sledding in the winter
  • Horseback riding
  • Riding a bike
  • Walking the dog with the family
  • Washing the car together
  • Gardening or raking leaves as a family

Regardless of age, physical activity can help you and your family feel better and improve everyone’s health, including bones, muscles, blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. Make sure any exercise or physical activity is done safely by participating in age-appropriate activities, stretching properly, and when necessary using safety equipment, such as helmets and pads. Speak to a healthcare professional if a family member has any medical considerations before starting an activity.