Family Workouts: Advanced

Linda Melone, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer

Active families understand the value of exercise and have fun while getting in shape. When parents set a good example while children are young, it's easier to keep the momentum going. In addition, families that exercise together foster children with positive associations with being active, versus sedentary families where exercise is viewed as boring or painful. Plus, studies show that physically active children don't have as many chronic health problems as sedentary children. Activities like playing basketball with your kids, taking them to the zoo or park and hiking together all burn calories and promote good health while breathing fresh air and having fun.

Setting new, more challenging goals raises the bar and provides motivation for both kids and parents to continue making progress. Parents should be careful, however, to focus on living a healthy lifestyle instead of obsessing over weight-loss goals.

Ways to up the ante on the current program involve increasing workout intensity.. Adding time, increasing weight (for resistance exercises) and decreasing rest periods between exercise bouts all increase the challenge and give family members something for which to strive.

Tips for Advanced Family Workouts

  • Set weekly goals for everyone and track them on a family calendar
  • Make sure goals are realistic yet challenging enough to avoid boredom
  • Offer incentives, such as allowing the winner to choose the next week's activity
  • Compete with each other in push-ups or sit-ups
  • Alternate easier and hard exercise workouts to avoid injury and burnout, including endurance days as well as "light" workout days and active rest
  • Allow for variations in fitness abilities keep it fun!

Activities to Try

Mix and match these activities and create your own versions to keep it fun. Kids should try to do at least 60 minutes of activity per day;
adults should aim for at least 30 minutes.

Week 1

Monday - Try an advanced geocaching treasure hunt
Tuesday - A "leader" sets up mini exercise circuits around the house
Wednesday - Go to the local track and race against your own best time and each other's
Thursday - Take a spinning class at the local gym
Friday - Take an extended walk or bike ride for

Week 2

Monday - Take a yoga class or do a yoga DVD
Tuesday - Take a weight-training or cardio class together
Wednesday - Take a Spin Class
Thursday - Home DVD workout
Friday - Treasure hunt or hike

Once you've exhausted your own ideas, speak with a certified fitness professional to help you take the next step.

This content was provided by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the world's largest sports medicine and exercise
science organization and proud content provider for NBA FIT