A Family that Plays Together, Stays Together
● By Sandy Kauten
It’s time to put our multi-tasking skills to better use and bring back an interactive family time. Get up off the couch, shut off the screens and enjoy some family time fitness. Can’t think of anything to do? Keep reading for a little inspiration.
Family Fun Runs – Sign up the family for a 5K walk/run in your area. These family friendly courses lead participants through colored foam, glo paint, mud and even obstacle courses. While many events are connected to charity fundraising, some of them are just for fun.
Laser tag – This adrenaline raising activity is a great rainy-day plan for families. Players wear lightweight targeted vests and carry a “loaded” laser gun. Played in a semi dark room with plenty of places to hide, teams try to hit their opponents target and get points for each hit.
Hiking – Local forest preserves and state parks offer trails with various levels of difficulty. Park district jogging paths often include fitness stations along the pathway. Pack some water, a snack, and the family dog for an afternoon of family fun.
Pull out the bikes – Many of the local trails are set up for bikes as well. Let the kids ride their own bicycle or bring them along in a bike trailer if they are younger. Cycling 10-12 mph burns 30-45 calories per mile depending on your weight.
Trampoline arena – While it looks like a lot of fun, jumping on a trampoline uses a lot of energy. In addition to simple trampoline jumping, many arenas include dodge ball courts and air-robics classes.
Explore the city – On a recent trip to the city, our family spent the day exploring on foot. We walked an incredible six miles while sightseeing, shopping, and snapping pictures. Although the city is filled with transportation options, we didn’t want to miss anything. Walking burns 100 calories per mile, leaving plenty of room for a guilt free dinner.
Pick-up games – Even the busiest of families can find time for a 30-minute pick-up game. Challenge a neighboring family to a quick game of soccer at the park or basketball in the driveway. Other family games include volleyball, kickball, or Frisbee golf.
Get out on the water – Rent a canoe, rowboat, kayak or paddleboats for a little exercise and inexpensive fun. Did you know that paddling uses 7 muscle groups including arms, shoulders, and core?
Fun on the ice – If the weather isn’t cooperating at the outdoor skate park, head to the ice rink to cool your heels. Ice rinks often have weekend and evening open skate times and offer family fun packages. If you prefer wheels over blades, check out the local roller rink instead.
Stair Climb – Stair climbing fundraising events are held in cities across the country. Set in a tall skyscraper, participants climb the stairs and collect donations from family and friends. It’s a great family, fitness, and charity event all rolled into one.
Indoor skydiving – Would you like to try skydiving but don’t like the idea of jumping out of a plane? Indoor skydiving facilities like iFly give guests a true freefall experience for children as young as three and their adult companions.
Video games – Yes, you read it right. I am encouraging family fitness in the form of a video game. Try Wii Just Dance, Wii Fit Plus, Kinect Sports for Xbox or Sports Champion for PS3. The kids will love the opportunity to play with their game systems and their parents will like the games that get them off the couch.
Six Fitness Apps for Busy Families
Map My Run – Choose different categories such as walk, run or bike and let the app record your route, time, speed and calories burned.
Fit Quest Lite – A fun, interactive game for your iPhone. Move your body while holding your phone to help the baby squirrel get back home. It’s as fun to watch as it is to play.
Fitness Buddy – This app’s free version contains over 400 exercises with descriptions and workouts. The paid version offers over 1700 exercises – wow!
Instant Heart Rate – Place your index finger on your iPhone camera to get your hate rate reading in 10 seconds.
Seven Minute Work Out – This app by Wahoo Fitness is the #1 fitness app in 127 countries. It offers 12, 30-second exercises (with 10 second intervals). You get a complete workout in seven minutes – great for families on the run.
Simply Yoga – Wind down at the end of your busy day with your own personal yoga instructor. Videos demonstrate poses and offer 20, 40 or 60 minutes workouts.Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three busy teens. They are a multi-tasking family who combines fitness and family time whenever possible.