For the Miller family of Woodland Park, Colo., physical fitness is a family affair. Kevin and Teri Miller have found that exercising with their seven children not only keeps them healthy, it cultivates closer relationships too.
Physical activity—-whether it’s a leisurely nature walk, running a community race or shoveling snow—-is part of many families’ daily lives.
Even modest efforts pay big rewards, notes Steve Rosen, 38, a certified personal fitness trainer in Fort Knox, Ky. “An inch of exercise can give you a mile of health,” says Rosen, dad to Trevor, 7, and Maxwell, 4. He reminds parents that physical fitness doesn’t require a gym membership. “Play a game of tag in the house with the kids,” he suggests. “Kids will mimic your behavior.”
Here are a few other ideas for staying fit as a family:
Treasure hunt. Send the kids scrambling into the yard to hunt “treasure.” Up for a bigger adventure? Check out the family-friendly sport of geocaching, a treasure hunt to locate hidden items using a GPS.
Run a race. Enter a race as a family. Miller says racing has bolstered his teen son’s confidence.
Dance contest. Younger kids especially love being recorded on video. “It’s a workout for them and they don’t even know it,” Rosen says.
Trampoline. This is a Miller family favorite. “A trampoline is one of the best investments a family can make,” Kevin says. Not only can everyone get a workout, but on clear nights, the family lies on the trampoline and stargazes together.
Health benefits aside, Miller applauds the greatest benefit of family fitness time: “Experiencing life together.”