Exercise has never been at the top of my list of fun things to do and I do whatever I can to not fit it into my schedule. My husband has a slightly more positive outlook and manages to fit in weekly volleyball games, bike rides in warm weather, and an occasional workout on our home exercise equipment. And if it weren’t for the really comfortable overstuffed chair that always seems to call his name, he would be more active as well. If we didn’t have kids we would maybe be more accepting of our sedentary lifestyle and feel a lot less pressure to exercise and stay fit, but because we believe in walking the talk with our kids we are forced into making honest attempts at exercise and eating healthy.
So to give ourselves a boost of enthusiasm, we have implemented the Family Fitness Challenge this spring. It is our simple little way of teaching the kids about eating healthy and exercising as well as fitting in some fun quality family time as well.
Simply stated, a Family Fitness Challenge is an exercise and healthy habit plan we came up with together to try and make healthier choices. We have established a few goals and will track our progress over the spring and summer months with occasional rewards thrown in along the way. Here is our fitness challenge for this spring:
Eat 3 healthy meals 6 days a week
Exercise 3 times a week one of which has to be as a family
Eat only 2 junky snacks a day
Eat only 1 sugary cereal 1 day a week
So if you are like us and are looking for some creative ways to get your family moving here are some tips and suggestions to help you get your Family Fitness Challenge going:
Make your goals as a family, asking one of the older children to write them down.
Make your fitness goals realistic. It is better to start small and then build up rather than set them too high and fail. Be mindful of your family’s schedule, routines, and personality while writing your fitness goals. Make your fitness goals fit your family rather than forcing your family to fit your goals.
If your family fitness goals include cutting back on junk food, you may have to consider thinking through and defining as a family what is and isn’t junk food as well as appropriate serving sizes.
Use a fitness chart to track your progress and let your kids take turns handing out the gold stars. You can create your own or use our template.
Family Fitness Challenge Progress Chart – PDF Version
Build in rewards along the way. For example, a possible reward may be a night at the movies after 4 weeks of consistently meeting your goals.
Don’t set weight goals for your kids. Keep the goals focused on fun, eating healthy, and exercise.
For more complex goals, consider using a fitness notebook to help keep track of your progress.