Instilling a love of fitness and exercise in your children at an early age can ensure that they reap the many rewards of an active lifestyle throughout their adulthood; however, it can be a challenge to pull your kids away from their devices, the television, or their favorite video games. One of the best ways to get your kids to be more active is to set an example and exercise with them! Making a commitment to an active lifestyle as a family and being the role model your kids can follow is not only a wonderful way to improve your health and fitness, but it also allows for quality time and making memories together as a family.
Why a Fitness Lifestyle Is So Important for Children
Children and teens ages 6 to 17 should get at least an hour of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Compared to those who are inactive, physically active youth have higher levels of fitness, lower body fat, and stronger bones and muscles. Physical activity also has brain health benefits for school-age children, including improved cognition (e.g., academic performance, memory) and reduced symptoms of depression.”
In other words, keeping your kids active is very important! Unfortunately, with the temptation of television, social media, video games, and other distractions, plus the pandemic reducing physical activity by 17 minutes per day on average, many children simply don’t get enough regular physical activity.
A fitness lifestyle also helps decrease the prevalence of obesity-related conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems like asthma and sleep apnea, and joint problems.
How to Become a Fit Family
If you and your children are more likely to spend the weekend on the couch watching movies together instead of grabbing your bikes and hitting the trail, it’s time to create healthy habits. While it’s okay to have downtime or rest days, it’s also particularly important for your health and fitness to lead an active lifestyle. Encouraging your children to move can help you become a little more active, too!
What can you do to help your children embrace a fitness lifestyle? Find an activity—or several activities—that you can enjoy as a family, to get your hearts pumping and have fun while being active. Whether you’re playing at home, dancing, running, riding bicycles, or getting everyone together at the park for a friendly football game, just get moving and make it a goal to increase your physical activity together.
Below are six effective ways to encourage physical activity and become a fit family.
1. JOIN THE GYM TOGETHER
Not every kid wants to join a sport, and sometimes the weather does not make it easy to go on a family hike or bike ride. Consider giving your older children a membership to your gym.
With the EōS Black Membership, Members have Unlimited VIP Guest Privileges, which means you can bring one Guest or family member with you every time you hit the gym. It can be the same Guest or a different one each time—they just need to be accompanied by their associated Member when checking into the gym. Guests must be at least 18 years of age, or 16 years of age accompanied by a legal guardian. Members must be at least 13 years of age or older. Members 13-17 years old also must have a legal guardian sign their membership agreement, but can then enjoy their workouts unaccompanied.
When taking your kids to the gym for the first time, make sure to take a tour with a staff member so your kids learn how to safely use the equipment and practice good gym etiquette. After that, the sky’s the limit! You can train right alongside your children and other family members, serving as a workout buddy and accountability partner, while helping them build muscle and improve their cardiovascular health.
Try the EōS Kids’ Club too if your little ones are younger. Some EōS locations have kids’ basketball courts where they can play with other EōS Tykes. Showing children that you’re making time for fitness sets a great example of living a healthy and active lifestyle.
It’s never too early to encourage movement, play, and exercise with your children. The sooner you start exercising together, the more normal and natural this will seem to them as they grow. Exercise and physical activity will be a part of their life from their earliest days and will continue to be a priority throughout their lives.
Starting young also enables you to establish fitness goals and incorporate daily activities that support an overall healthy lifestyle. This will help set the tone so that being healthy and active is a regular part of their lives.
3. MAKE IT FUN
If exercise is a chore, your children will learn to dread it rather than enjoy it. Instead of forcing your little ones to run laps on the local high school track, find ways to make physical activity fun and exciting. One of the best ways is to turn fitness into a game. You can start simply, by playing tag with your little ones or having sprint races across the field. There are endless ways to inject fun and silliness into your workouts. Here are just a few more suggestions:
- Play catch
- Have dance competitions at home
- Put up a badminton net in the backyard
- Go Geocaching®
- Challenge each other to jump rope competitions
- Try an at-home workout using the EōS mobile app
4. SIGN UP FOR A COMPETITION
Sign up for a 5k race as a family, a doubles tennis tournament, or a similar activity that you can do together. There are plenty of different types of exercise classes, recreational activities, and competitions to consider. Obstacle course race, anyone?
Having something to train for and a goal to work toward can give your children more motivation to get active and provide a purpose for their physical activities. The competition itself can also create powerful memories, help your children learn important lessons of hard work and sportsmanship, and give you a chance to spend quality time together.
5. JOIN A SPORT TOGETHER
Putting your children into sports is an excellent way to promote fitness, but why should you sit on the sidelines while your kids have all the fun? There are many different sports and activities that children and their parents can participate in together. Even if you can’t take the same class as your children, most training centers offer adult classes, enabling you to learn and train together. This is a fantastic way to bond and to let your child “teach” you.
A few examples of sports classes you can potentially take as a family include tennis, dance, martial arts, swimming, and indoor rock climbing.
6. INCLUDE FITNESS ON YOUR VACATION
Incorporate fitness into your family vacation to add fun and excitement to the trip and balance those delicious restaurant meals. One of the best and least expensive options is to take a family camping trip. Banish electronics for a few days, take the children on hikes, or bring the bikes and hit the paths or trails.
Beach or lake vacations can easily offer up tons of activities the whole family can do together, like walking down the beach, hiking around the lake or through the woods, swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving, and surfing.
Finally, if you love the snow, then show your kids how to lead an active lifestyle no matter the weather. Winter vacations can include activities like sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
Enjoy the Benefits of a Fitness Lifestyle Together
One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is an appreciation for physical activity. We all know the many benefits that regular exercise offers, and children who learn to love fitness early are likely to make it a regular part of their lives as adults. Fitness can help keep your children healthy, give them a positive coping mechanism, and encourage them to make friends who also lead active lifestyles.
So, what are you waiting for? Gather up the family and get active!
Start enjoying the benefits of a fitness lifestyle at EōS. Stop by your nearest EōS location and try the variety of equipment and classes with a Complimentary 7-Day Pass.
This content was originally published in December 2019 and has been updated.