How to Make Family Fitness Fun

Dr. Phillip Rhoads, MD, is an adult internist and pediatrician at Banner Health Center in Fort Collins. For more information on this topic, talk with your doctor or call. Dr. Rhoads’ office at (970) 821-4600.

Question: How can I encourage my family to enjoy exercise?

Answer: Exercise helps us maintain a healthy weight and keeps our hearts running strong. However, in our busy lives, sometimes exercise is perceived as “work,” and people are less interested in participating. The key to getting your family moving is to make exercise fun. Here are some ideas to help your family develop a love for activity:

  • Find activities that your family enjoys doing together. Schedule an outing for everyone to participate. Remember to bring water and the proper equipment, such as closed-toe shoes for hiking or helmets for biking.
  • Create traditions, such as an evening walk after dinner to talk about the day’s events or a Sunday bike ride to a local breakfast spot.
  • Encourage your kids to walk or bike to school by accompanying them to the bus stop or school.
  • Families who gather around the dinner table talk more openly and can help each other address concerns such as peer pressure or other problems at school. Use dinnertime to walk together to a local restaurant and share stories along the way.
  • Remind your spouse or partner that you need to be exercise role models for your children. If you demonstrate a love for activity, your children are likely to follow.
  • Plan your next vacation in an active location, where you can ski, hike, bike, swim or similar. Create an itinerary that involves one activity per day, and talk about ways that you could enjoy that same activity at home.
  • Get each family member an activity tracker or pedometer and compete against each other for the most steps in a week. Offer a prize to the winner.
  • Ask your children what sports or activities interest them. Sign them up for a class or team to allow them to explore that interest.
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