Once summer lands, our social lives start sizzling, childcare can become tricky and exercise seems difficult to achieve. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let us show you some ways to fit in a family workout this summer so you combine parenting with your fitness.
Being a fit family has actually never been more important. Sport England ran a survey that found a third of children are currently participating in fewer than 30 minutes of exercise a day. This led to the government’s School Sport and Activity Action Plan.
Within in, it recommended children take 60 minutes of physical activity a day, ranging from cycling and general playground activity, to more structured, vigorous sports, like running, netball and football
On three days a week, this activity should include exercise which strengthens muscles and bones. It could include dynamic exercise like swinging or hanging from playground equipment, jumping exercises like hopping and skipping, gymnastics and other fitness which uses their body weight.
Encourage a family workout
You can encourage children to take part in a family workout by talking about the benefits. If a new-found fitness means your child makes the football team, that’s going to have a profound effect on their self-confidence. If working on skipping drills means they get better at scoring netball goals, they’re going to be a happy exerciser. And if doing garden shuttle runs means they no longer come last on sports day, they’re going to feel that benefit internally as well as externally.
Although you might think the summer holidays will stop your health routine in its tracks, that doesn’t have to be the case. There are many activities you can add to a family workout that will bring fitness benefits. Here are some examples:
Exercise #1: Balloon tennis
What does it do? Boosts cardiovascular fitness and works the lower body.
How to: ‘Bat’ a balloon in the air, from person to person, with as big a gap between you as possible (to allow for more movement). Every time someone fails to catch the balloon that’s batted to them, they perform a forfeit of three jack squats (jump feet apart holding balloon and squat down to the ground).
How long: Five minutes, but you’ll probably end up doing it for much longer, because it’s good fun.
Exercise #2: Wheelbarrow-and-squat
What does it do? Works upper and lower body, and core.
How to: Hold the ‘wheelbarrow’s’ legs just above the ankle and, encouraging the wheelbarrow person to keep their back straight, perform five squats, before setting off for a lap of the garden with the wheelbarrow moving, by placing one palm in front of another as you guide and support their legs. At the end of each lap in this family workout, perform five squats before turning around and repeating at the other end. You can change positions at any time!
How long: Aim for four laps, resting as required, and switching positions at the end of two laps if you can.
Exercise #3: Single leg statue freeze
What does it do? Works lower body muscles and core.
How to: From a shallow squat position with arms positioned in front of you, close to the body, sweep your outside leg out to the side, hold this position and kick the foot out from the knee. Draw the leg back in to the start position. As soon as one person shouts, “Freeze!”, hold the position, trying not to move. Then switch legs and continue.
How long: Play for two minutes, rest for one minute, and repeat.
Exercise #4: Hopscotch-and-handstand
What does it do? Works cardiovascular system, lower body, core and upper body.
How to: Start with one garden lap of hopscotch (hop into the air before landing on both feet in a squat. Push back up with a hop and continue). At the end of the lap, perform an upper body exercise of your choice – the kids might want to perform handstands, while their parent repeats shoulder taps in plank position – a good exercise for helping to improve posture, and protect upper back and shoulders from desk-related and bag-carrying twinges.
How long: Repeat for another three laps, resting for 20 seconds between each lap.
Exercise #5: Crab race
What does it do? Works upper body and core, and boosts fitness levels.
How to: Position yourself facing upwards, with weight distributed on the palms of your hands and feet. ‘Crawl’ forwards to complete one short garden lap. At the end of the lap of this family workout, reach your left hand to right shin, then vice versa, several times before crawling backwards to the start position.
How long: Do two laps, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat.