Now that the lazy days of summer are fading away and school is back in session, balancing work, family time and exercise can become difficult. Instead of trying to separate everything out, why not try making exercise a family activity? This way everyone gets their hearts pumping while enjoying some time together.
Prepping for Exercise
Before starting any new exercise routine, be sure to check with your physician to make sure it’s safe for everyone. Once you get the green light to start a new fitness regimen, remember a few key tips to stay safe and injury free: Start slowly and be sure to stop if you or your family members feel any pain, weakness, or lightheadedness; drink plenty of water to stay properly hydrated; and, always make sure to properly warm up and cool down before and after exercise.
To get started, set up designated stations for each workout sequence: push-ups, hinging movements, and squats. Each of these exercises can be repeated for five to 20 reps depending on fitness levels. Children, however, should focus on proper form and stop as soon as form breaks down regardless of rep count.
Next, warm up with some mobility movements to get your muscles loose and ready to work. Starting with low walking lunges and arm reaches is a great way to get your whole body moving. Step one foot out into a low lunge with both hands down at your side, then reach one arm up followed by the other. Return to standing and repeat on the other leg alternating for roughly 12 reps.
After the mobility warmup, add some agility. You can play “Follow the Leader” and take turns so that each family member can pick a fun, fast exercise to warm up the group. Consider family friendly exercises, such as speed ladders, hop scotch, or jumping jacks.
Once everyone is warmed up and ready to get moving, start working out in your different stations.
In the push-up station, adults begin in the plank position with feet hip width apart and wrists aligned under your shoulders. Keep your core tight as you bend at the elbows to lower the body down as on solid piece until your shoulders and elbows are parallel. Then push your body back up to plank position.
Younger family members can hold the plank pose or the downward dog pose. Push-ups can also be modified to push up from the knees instead of from the toes.
Next, work the legs and core with single-leg dead lifts.
Adults start in a standing position holding a medium sized weight at your left side. Begin the single-leg dead lift by reaching back with your left leg and bending forward over your right leg to let the weight come down to the ground in front of you. Slowly stand back up to place both feet on the ground and repeat for desired number of reps then switch to the other side and repeat.
Children can practice the yoga airplane movement. This is essentially the same move as the adult version, but without the added weight.
The last movement of this cycle is the goblet squat.
For adults, stand with feet slightly wider than hip distance. Hold a weight close to your chest. Then, squat down between your legs as deeply as you can without pain. Ideally your elbows should touch your legs while keeping your core braced and chest and head straight. Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps.
For children, perform the same movement without weight or with a full water bottle instead.
Static stretches are a great way to cool down after a workout. Make sure to stretch each area you worked — the chest, legs, hips, and back muscles.
To help prevent soreness, you can also get out your trusty foam roller. Rolling out the major muscle groups is a great way to cool-down and lower the heart rate. Roll up and down each muscle group for about 30 seconds each. This releases any adhesions on your muscles to keep the flexible and pain free.
Last, but not least, make sure you celebrate the great job you all did with a well deserved high five! Making fitness fun and part of family play is a great way to instill healthy habits in children and make sure the entire family stays motivated and consistent.
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