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As a busy parent, finding time for physical activity while balancing family life can be challenging. However, creating a plan to stay active together is not only important for maintaining good health but also for strengthening family bonds and creating lifelong memories.


July 17, 2023

Staying active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can be enjoyed by the entire family. Whether you're looking to explore the great outdoors, get creative inside or to try something new, this blog will provide you with a variety of exciting ideas to keep your family active and energized.

Benefits of Family Exercise

By exercising together, families establish a firm foundation for lifelong health and well-being. Some benefits of everyday physical activity for children include improvement in attention and memory, stronger muscles and bones, improvement in blood pressure and aerobic fitness, and it reduces the risk of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes and obesity.1

Family exercise also promotes mental and emotional well-being, as physical activity releases endorphins and reduces stress. Overall, a family workout can not only enhance physical health but also create a positive and supportive environment that promotes happiness, connection and a lifetime of healthy habits.

How Much Exercise Does a Family Need?

The amount of exercise a family needs depends on various factors such as age, fitness level and individual health conditions. Preschool-aged children (ages three through five years) should be encouraged to move and be active throughout their day (active play) to improve their growth and development.2  School-aged youth (6–17 years) should aim to achieve 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily, or different activities that add up to 60 minutes or more each day.2   Adults, on the other hand (ages 18-64), should aim for at least need a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate activity or a minimum of 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days.

Family Exercise Ideas to Get Started

1. Family walks

a family of four walking together outside

Regular walks together promote physical fitness by improving heart health, strengthening muscles and maintaining a healthy weight. Walking is a low-impact activity that can be enjoyed by all ages and fitness levels. Beyond the physical benefits, family walks also provide valuable bonding time, allowing for quality conversations and shared experiences. This activity can instill healthy habits from an early age, encourage exploration and learning and serve as a positive role modeling opportunity. Choose a regular time that you and your family take a stroll together. Maybe take a walk after dinner or wake up early and walk in the mornings. Learn about all the benefits to walking more each day here.

2. Chore Time Turned Dance Party

By turning on some lively music and dancing while doing chores, the atmosphere becomes energetic and uplifting. This activity not only increases motivation but also adds a fun and playful element to the tasks at hand. Dancing engages various muscle groups, making the chores a physical activity that promotes movement while also demonstrating the importance of teamwork. With laughter and music filling the air, chore time becomes an opportunity to bond and turn an otherwise boring routine into a more enjoyable experience.

3. Family Yoga

a mother and son doing yoga inside together

There are a ton of online resources and videos available for family-friendly yoga that cater to all different ages and abilities. Yoga promotes flexibility, strength and mindfulness. It is also a great option for when the weather is not cooperating for outdoor activities.

4. Outdoor Adventures

Activities like hiking, biking or nature walks allow you to explore scenic locations while getting a healthy amount of exercise. Exploring nature can have a calming effect, reducing stress levels and improving mood for all family members. Research local parks and trails to find suitable options for your family. Remember to pack water, snacks and sunscreen for a safe and enjoyable experience. Check out these hiking and camping safety tips for your next adventure!

5. Swimming or Water Activities   

a parent with a child swimming in a pool having fun

Visit a local pool or beach and enjoy swimming or water activities together. Swimming is a fantastic full-body workout that is gentle on the joints. Suggest games like pool volleyball, water polo, or simply splashing around. Ensure everyone follows safety rules, especially when swimming in open water. It's very important to remember the importance of sun protection.

6. Family Sports and Games

Organize regular family sports and games sessions to encourage physical activity. Choose sports that suit different age groups and skill levels, such as soccer, basketball or frisbee. Create teams, set up friendly competitions and have fun together. Depending on the ages of everyone in your family you can also try games like tag, scavenger hunts or relay races. The focus is on moving, having fun and fostering a sense of teamwork.

Effective ways to Encourage your Family to Exercise Together

  • Lead by Example: As a parent or guardian, your actions speak louder than words. Show your family the importance of exercise by prioritizing it in your own routine. When they see you staying active and enjoying the benefits, they'll be more inclined to follow suit.
  • Make It Fun: Create an enjoyable exercise environment that appeals to everyone. Choose activities that accommodate different fitness levels and interests.
  • Establish a Regular Routine: Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining an exercise regimen. Schedule dedicated family exercise time each week and make it non-negotiable. By treating it as a regular commitment, it becomes a part of your family's routine and promotes healthy habits that last.
  • Embrace Variety: Varying your activities keeps exercise exciting and prevents boredom. Encourage family members to take turns choosing the activity for each session. This not only provides a range of physical benefits but also allows everyone to explore their interests and discover new activities they enjoy.

Exercising as a family is a fantastic way to bond, improve fitness levels and create healthy habits for everyone. By incorporating these fun activities into your routine, you can make exercise an enjoyable and regular part of family life. Remember, the key is to focus on having fun and encouraging each other rather than strict competition or performance. Start small and slowly increase the intensity or duration of activities as your family becomes more comfortable. Get moving, have fun and enjoy the benefits of being an active family!


1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Last updated 2018. Accessed May 14, 2023.

2 CDC: How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need? Last updated June 3, 2022. Accessed May14, 2023.

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