Four Seasons to a Fit Family
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Four Seasons to a Fit Family

Neither winter's chill nor summer's sultriness can stop a motivated family from being active. Sure, each season presents challenges for exercising (Too cold! Too hot! Too wet! Too much pollen!), but they also offer their own glorious opportunities for staying physically fit.

Fall for Fall

Scavenger Hike

Grab some water bottles and a few granola bars, and head to the nearest woodsy trail. Instead of just hiking, create a scavenger hunt list for each family member. Have fun searching for tree types, insects, leaf colors, birds, or sticks as you hike away the afternoon.

Plant Bulbs

Your perennials are getting ready to go on hiatus, but now is the time to plant bulbs for next spring (before the soil freezes). Head to the nursery and pick up some daffodils, tulips, snowdrops, crocus, or grape hyacinths. Take turns digging -- you'll each work up a sweat quickly!

Banish Winter Blahs

Ice Skate

Whether you hit an indoor rink or a trusted frozen pond, ice skating is a wonderful winter activity. Kids usually lace up the skates and just go, but if you're having trouble getting the hang of it, just skate slowly and work on getting comfortable skating on one foot.

Family Dance

Chilled to the bone? Forget hot chocolate! Start family dance night instead. Give each family member a turn at picking the song, and when her song is playing, she gets to be the leader for the dance.

Spring for Fitness

Enter a 5K

Spring is full of fun family races, and usually these events have something for just about everyone, from toddler trots to fun runs for school-aged children to full-length 5Ks for teens and adults. Pick a race toward the end of spring, and start "training" (family jogs or walk/jogs) as soon as the last flake melts.

Take to the Street

Go old school, and get some neighborhood street or backyard games started. Think kickball, baseball, touch football, volleyball, soccer, and badminton. Kids get into competition, especially family against family -- or better yet, kids against adults.

Soak Up Summer

Take an Active Vacation

No matter if you're heading to the beach or the mountains, plan vacations that involve physical activity, like fishing, hiking, swimming, rock climbing (with harnesses of course!), kayaking, bicycling, or inline skating. If you need more ideas, talk to a travel agent about package deals and active family getaways.

Make the Pool a Playground

Playing in the pool is one of the great pleasures of summer. There's real fitness benefit too, because water adds resistance and difficulty (but your kids will have so much fun, they won't even realize it). You can have relay races, dive for pennies, or play games like tag, baseball, and volleyball.

Want More Ideas?

  • Fly a kite.
  • Play miniature golf.
  • Go canoeing.
  • Organize backyard relay races with neighbors.
  • Have a jump rope contest.
  • Create a family line dance to your favorite song.
  • Rake leaves and create leaf sculptures with them.
  • Take a class, such as martial arts, as a family (just make sure each family member is in the age-appropriate section).
  • Give your kids fitness-related gifts (balls, bats, skates, bicycles, jump ropes) for birthdays/holidays.


Originally published on, August 2007.