Fitness: It's a Family Affair

There are many benefits to maintaining a physically and emotionally healthy, balanced lifestyle. Not only does it provide the energy and stamina needed to carry-out the demands of daily life, but it also helps you to age well, extending your quality of life and vitality for many years. And a commitment to healthy living doesn't only benefit you. Children who see their parents' devotion to exercise and good diet are more likely to adopt the behaviors for themselves and pass it on to their children creating generational benefits of healthy living.

So, how do you begin to teach these life-enriching habits to your family? Well, you can start by incorporating family fitness activities in your daily lives. There are many things your family can do together that will not only promote healthy living, but also bring your family together for regular and consistent quality time.

Here are a few examples of the kinds of activities your family can start doing together:

Evening walks

After a long day at work and at school, a relaxing evening walk (you can make it a more brisk, hear-rate raising walk) provides your family the opportunity to burn some after-dinner calories and spend some quality time together talking about your days, catching up, or to plan for upcoming activities. This time of movement and connection can be brief, 15- 20 minutes, or longer, depending on your schedules. Either way, it's a simple way to combine exercise and bonding that your family is sure to enjoy.


Even though it may feel a little silly, dancing is a great way to burn calories. Turn your living room into a disco, by lowering the lights and pumping up the music. And don't worry about not knowing the latest dance craze, or being rhythmically challenged, just get those arms, legs, hips and necks going to your family's favorite upbeat tunes. Be sure to get that heart-rate up for at least 10 minutes. You can cool down with stretches to more relaxing melodies. This activity guarantees that you'll have fun together while getting fit.


Don't forget how many opportunities can be found at the local playground. Tap into your inner child while working those arm muscles swinging from the monkey bars and climbing ladders. Take sidewalk chalk and play hopscotch to work those leg muscles.  Jumping rope, climbing ropes and playing volleyball are also fun activities you can do together at the playground that will help burn calories and promote muscle and joint exercise.

Video games that require physical participation

Video games get a lot of flack because they are said to encourage inactivity and promote obesity in children. And while there is some truth to those claims, there are many gaming systems that offer video games that require players to get up and move. These games can be played as a family with a little friendly competition and a lot of beneficial movement.  These are great activities when there's inclement weather, or when your family time is limited.


An often overlooked family fun activity is gardening.  It involves bending, light lifting, stretching and other movements that are good exercise. Many people also find gardening to be relaxing and emotionally soothing. Additionally, your family will be able to see the product of your work together helping to create a sense of sharing accomplishment.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas offers a wide array of activities at our facility that promote family fitness and togetherness. Visit our website or contact us to learn about all the ways your family can combine healthy living and quality time. And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates. 


Authored by: YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas