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How to Make Your Family Fitness Challenge a Big Success

Encouraging your family to be more active can often feel like a losing battle, especially if your kids don’t take it upon themselves to exercise.

Prioritizing health and fitness as a family can make it more likely that your kids will have a good relationship with exercise. If your little ones are used to being active early on in life, it can build a super strong connection with exercise as they get older.

Hosting regular family fitness challenges can be a great way to get the whole family involved in fitness and help them to love it.

Here are some super easy ways to introduce family fitness challenges and make sure they’re a big hit.

Set Goals

What are you hoping to achieve through your family fitness challenge? Your goals may be linked to getting fitter or stronger or working towards a specific milestone, such as entering an event as a family.

You may not have the same goals across the board, and people may be working towards their own individual goals as part of the broader challenge.

Make sure your family’s fitness goals are achievable (while also being challenging, of course!) and motivational. If they feel too unrealistic, it can quickly affect enthusiasm for carrying on with the challenge.

Your goals can be health-related, as well as fitness-related. You may set the family goals around eating a certain number of fruits and veggies each day alongside their fitness goals, for example.

Track Your Progress

Think about how you’ll track your family’s progress towards your goals. This may include tracking the number of steps you take in an average day, personal bests, weight loss, for example.

If members of the family have their own personal goals, they may be tracking different goals to each other.

Set Up Progress Rewards

Staying on track is one of the hardest parts of getting involved in a family fitness challenge — especially if some members of the family weren’t too enthusiastic to start with.

Plan rewards for every mini milestone ticked off. It can work great if each person can choose their own progress rewards for meeting their goals. This is super helpful for keeping your little ones engaged in the challenge and enthusiastic about making progress.

Bonus points if you can keep your rewards linked to health and fitness. A trip to the pool, a picnic in the park, or an afternoon of roller skating can be super easy ways to have fun. Don't use food as a reward in any instance, but especially with children. There are too many adults out there with disordered eating patterns to ignore the connection... but this is a different talk for a different day.

Maintaining Momentum

Rewards are super important for maintaining momentum, and praise can also be hugely effective. As your family moves through the fitness challenge and successfully completes mini-milestones, let them know how proud you are of their efforts and how well they’re doing. A little bit of praise can go a long way for boosting confidence and maintaining enthusiasm, especially for younger members of the family.

Ideas for Family Fitness Challenge Activities

Not sure what kind of activities you can include as part of a family fitness challenge? A lot will depend on each person’s individual goals but some activities can be super smart choices across different fitness goals:

● Walks are a super easy way to get more active. If you’re aiming to get more steps in over an average day, it’s a smart way to ease yourself in. You can make walks more interesting for younger children by asking them to find fun sights along the way.

● Climb the stairs at every opportunity, both at home and when you’re out and about. You can even “climb” escalators for a mini-workout.

● Put some energetic tunes on and get dancing. To make things super fun and add a competitive factor, have a family dance-off.

● Use commercial breaks to your advantage and encourage your family to do sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, or squats while they’re on. Bonus points to whoever clocks up the most in a single commercial break!

● Trampolining and roller skating are fun ways to burn extra calories. In the winter months, ice skating can be a ton of fun too.

● Younger kids will love the idea of getting involved in a treasure hunt or obstacle course, and you can easily set one up in your backyard with some simple materials. Hula hoops, ropes, and ladders (laid out flat on the ground) can all act as obstacles, for example. Ramp up the intensity by setting up stations at specific points of the course. At these stations, make it mandatory to do a few jumping jacks or sit-ups before moving on with the rest of the course.

● Turn chores into exercise and get everyone involved. Allocate each family member a task and set a timer to get as much done as you can in a specific time frame. Time will fly when you have fun tunes on!

What to Do When a Family Fitness Challenge Ends

Finished your first family fitness challenge? Time to get ready for the next one! Set a new series of goals or do the same things again with higher benchmarks.

You don’t have to dive into another challenge right away but if it went well, you can make it a regular occurrence throughout the year.

A Personal Note: This year I turned my basement into a fun ninja warrior course. Living in Wisconsin, the cold prevents us from spending too much time outside (although we are working towards more wintertime activities), so I created a great way for the kids to stay active, build strength and play with each other, right inside the house. I'm not totally done yet, so I won't post photos until then, but I wanted to link the products that I purchased for this. As long as you have wood beams in your basement ceiling, you can hang any type of obstacle. My kids LOVE swinging on the rings, the yoga swing and doing the monkey bars. Check out my list on Amazon for ideas:

Check out the free Printable below for guidance on how to plan your Family Fitness Goals, breakdown your week for activities and individual goal setting. For the love of everything I stand for, PLEASE do not talk to your kids about weight, losing weight, restrictive diets, etc... you do exercise to be healthy and strong and THAT. IS. IT. MmmmKay???

Family Fitness Goals Printables
Download PDF • 200KB

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