When it comes to getting fit with the family, Fall offers the perfect blend of crisp mornings and warm afternoons to keep you outside all season. Fitness blogger and personal trainer Sofia Martimianakis shares her best tips with the Parent Life Network for getting fit with your family.
Keeping up with your kids can often feel like a workout, but to get all of the benefits of exercise nothing beats some structured physical activity. There’s no reason why the whole family can’t be part of your fitness journey.
Take advantage of the weather
Warm weather offers countless possibilities to include your family in physical activities that will help you burn calories and increase your stamina. When you’re having too much fun to remember you’re exercising, a fitness routine will be much easier to maintain.
One day at a time
You can boost your energy levels and see results fast by aiming to do at least one structured physical activity every day. Your kids will remember it as fun family adventures, and you’ll love seeing your progress every week.
Take plenty of before pictures. You’ll thank me later when you have a record of your transformation!
Low to Medium Intensity Physical Activities
Walking doesn’t have to be boring, and it can definitely count as a workout. Keep up a brisk pace and choose a scenic path at your local park. Alternatively, attractions can offer a great opportunity to meet your daily step goal. I just recently logged more than 19,000 steps at the zoo!
Burn even more calories by pushing a stroller or wearing your child in a carrier. Aim for 10,000 steps a day or 45 minutes of brisk walking (at a pace that would be difficult to keep a conversation up).
One of my favourite family-friendly fitness activities, hiking provides the added challenge of hills and uneven terrain. The beautiful landscapes found in conservation areas and provincial parks offer a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the work week.
It’s a great family photo opportunity! Hit the trails and aim for at least two to three hours of hiking for a good workout.
Hitting the pool (indoors or out!) is a great way to increase your cardiovascular endurance without putting a strain on your joints. Swimming was one of the physical activities I enjoyed the most once I got the all-clear from my doctor to commence exercise after my c-section. In the water, my body felt more like my pre-pregnancy self, and the laps definitely got my heart-rate up! My husband and I would trade off doing laps with helping our infant daughter get comfortable in the water.
Aim for 20-30 minutes of swimming and take breaks as needed.
Biking is a physical activity children love even before they are able to bike themselves. Incorporating your whole family is possible at almost any stage; there are many options on the market for babies and toddlers. Bike seats, trailers, and balance bikes that attach to your bike are great for young children not yet able to ride on their own.
Plan a biking trip to a playground outside of your neighbourhood, to break up your workout and add to the fun.
Aim for at least one hour of biking and challenge yourself to try biking up hills when you come across them!
High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
A skipping rope is easy to pack, and the great thing is you can skip almost anywhere. I pack my skipping rope when we go to the park and my husband and I take turns playing with our daughter while the other skips nearby. I can’t wait for her to be able to join in the skipping fun!
Aim to skip at high-intensity for two minutes followed by 30 seconds of rest. Complete 10-15 high-intensity intervals for a quick workout that will have you seeing results fast.
If your kids are old enough to race, they’re going to love this one! If not, they can be playing nearby as you complete this very effective HIIT workout. Sprint on flat-ground for 30 seconds or uphill for 20 seconds and walk back to your starting point as your rest break. Repeat 10-15 times.
Advanced Physical Activities
At first, this one sounds easy, but I guarantee you jumping on a trampoline for an hour is no easy feat if you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey. It’s a fantastic workout that will have you feeling the burn in your glutes, quads, and core.
Children can participate in most indoor trampoline parks as soon as they’re able to walk. Try 30 minutes for your first visit and work up to 60 minutes of solid jumping. Challenge yourself to try other maneuvers on the trampoline to train your balance and build strength like lunges, jumping-jacks, and squat jumps.
If you haven’t heard of bouldering, it’s essentially rock-climbing without the harness. Sound dangerous? I thought so too before trying it, but with the introductory safety course and the huge mats, it’s surprisingly safe.
If children are too young to climb, many gyms still allow them to cheer you on from the sidelines as long as they ’re supervised by an adult.
Bouldering is in the advanced category because it can be taxing on your wrists, shoulders, and back. That being said, there are often many beginner routes and you won’t feel out of place taking breaks in-between climbs. Plan for a one to two-hour visit for this challenging and rewarding workout!
Eating a Healthy Diet
Aiming to do at least one structured physical activity every day will go a long way in helping you reach your fitness goals.
But let’s not forget that abs aren’t made in the gym, they’re made in the kitchen!
Luckily, summer lends itself to light, delicious eating like grilled lean proteins and veggies. A healthy diet is not only extremely important for seeing speedy results, it will help you feel your best so you can make the most of every day. For me, tracking my food made all the difference because it kept me accountable for my diet.
Consuming fewer calories than you’re burning each day will set you up for transformative success. However, not every calorie counting system is easy to use especially, for busy moms who eat meals on the go. Weight Watchers takes the guesswork out of calorie counting. You can continue to eat whatever you and your family enjoy, but with the Weight Watchers point system, you’ll know how to structure your portions throughout the day.
You’ll be gently nudged into making healthier choices and with plenty of nutrient dense “zero Points” foods you’ll never feel deprived!
How will you know it’s working?
There are many ways to measure your progress. You may notice your mood and sleep are improving. Your energy levels and stamina will increase. Your clothes will fit better.
No need to focus on the number on the scale. Weekly progress pictures are a great way to keep track of your results. Make the most of this summer with your family!
The memories you’ll create together throughout your fitness journey are guaranteed to be the sweetest prize of all.
What family activity will you be doing to improve your fitness? Let us know in the comments!
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.