Keeping the whole family fit and healthy is more important now than ever before. Starting a family fitness challenge is a great way to keep kids engaged and excited to practice healthy habits that will stick with them for life! Get fit as a family with these fun fitness challenge ideas.
Why Start a Family Fitness Challenge?
According to the American Heart Association kids aged 6-17 need at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and adults are recommended to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily(1).
Starting a fitness or wellness challenge with your kids is a fun way to spend more time together and bond while building a healthier lifestyle you can all hold each other accountable for.
Something important to remember when engaging in fitness with your children is to encourage them to find their own interests and support them. It’s easy to get caught up in a certain sport you think your kid should participate in, or a certain way they should workout.
Enjoyment is a crucial factor in any fitness journey, but in particular for children as it can affect their mindset towards fitness and wellness for life. Let your kid take the reins (within reason) and watch as they learn to love fitness.
Family Fitness Challenge Ideas
There are all kinds of different challenges you could do with your kids, so first things first is to decide which health principle you’d like to frame your challenge around. It could be increasing physical activity, eating healthier foods, or a wide variety of wellness practices from engaging in more self-care to limiting screen time.
Start small and focus on one healthy habit at a time. These challenges are meant to be fun - not overwhelming - and too much too soon can be stressful both for you and your kids. Pick something you think your kids will respond well to and go with it! Remember you can always add on other activities or challenges later to add more healthy habits into your routine.
1. Physical Activity Challenge
There are no limits when it comes to physical fitness challenges you can do with your kids. Get prepared to think creatively, or even get your kids involved in the process by taking a vote for the best ideas!
You might aim to increase physical activity in general or have a more specific goal. For those who prefer a bit more structure, consider tackling an event together, like training for a 5K run or walk. This will not only be a great way to get some physical activity in each night, but fun time spent together!
Consider challenging your family to a strength challenge, such as doing more pushups, or doing this 30-Day Ab Challenge. Or, think out of the box and do something a little more fun, like playing a sport together in the park, dancing, hiking, biking, or even taking a fitness class together.
For those simply looking to get their kids moving throughout the day, this 10-Minute Recess Workout Series is great for getting kids interested and excited about fitness! These workouts are perfect for school-aged kids and will provide a great bodyweight workout. Just press play for fun sessions designed to keep your kids moving or join in on the fun!
2. Healthy Eating Challenge
Teaching your kids to make healthier food choices when they’re younger will help them understand how to make healthier choices on their own.
Kids love playing chef! A fun idea to get your kids eating healthier is to cook at home together a few nights a week instead of eating out. Cooking together is a fun way to spend time as a family after a long day and break up the mundane throughout the week; as well as teach your kids some valuable kitchen skills. Plus, finding healthy recipes both you and your kids enjoy will help you eat healthier too!
3. Wellness Challenge
Wellness is just as important as physical fitness and healthy eating, and it’s incredibly valuable to teach your kids the importance of self-care and balance in their regular routine. Make a challenge to address wellness and mental health needs together!
Select something that sounds enjoyable (or beneficial) for everyone. A positive wellness challenge may look like creating space for 30 minutes a day of quiet time devoted to reading, drawing, writing, puzzling, painting, etc. just for pleasure. Engaging in individual activities for no reason other than pleasure can help us to reduce stress and enjoy each day in a unique way.
Does your family struggle with screen time? A different way to challenge your family to improve wellness is to decrease screen time! This will come as a challenge to many kids or families who rely heavily on screen time throughout the week, but you’d be amazed how your kids can have fun and stay engaged in other activities that aren’t just on a screen. Aim to fill screen time with more creative activities like baking cookies, arts and crafts, or going for a walk around the neighborhood.
Tracking Your Progress
Decide together how you’ll plan to track your progress. If you have a set system in place, it will help everyone feel more accountable and really stick to it. You may choose to use charts with stickers for younger kids, journals for older kids, or simply checking in at the dinner table on everyone’s daily progress.
Once you’ve set your challenge, don’t stop there! Keep the momentum going by challenging your family to focus on a new health or fitness goal each month or keep building on your current challenge by setting the bar a little higher the next month.
Finally, remember to celebrate your effort as a family. Encouraging your family as they take on new healthy habits is incredibly rewarding! But sometimes your expectations or their expectations may not be met, and that’s okay.
Continue to lift each other up. Focusing on effort rather than achievement can help everyone to remain feeling positive and successful throughout the challenge. And of course, when progress and accomplishments (however big or small) do come along the way, celebrate those too!
(1) “American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids” American Heart Association, 2018, https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults. Accessed 31 March, 2021.