Just Doing It: The Most Important Part of Family Fitness

Sarah Clachar of Fit Family Together is back today to finish up her series on family fitness. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your knowledge with us this week.  We’ve loved having you here as a guest poster!

Family fitness covers a gamut of activities . . .

Some families live on their bikes, touring from camp spot to camp spot for weeks.

Others make dance jams part of their regular Saturday morning schedule.

While others simply join in when their four-year-old starts skipping and sashaying down the sidewalk.

There’s no one way to do family fitness.

But there is one critical element that runs through all the different ways families make fitness part of their family life . . .

They just do it! (Thanks, Nike)

Just Doing It

This week I gave you two great touchstones for bringing family fitness into your life:

1. Watch your children and learn from them: 5 Things Your Kids Can Teach You About Fitness

2. Keep it simple and focused on family: Use the F.I.T. rule to Make Family Fitness Simple And Delightful

These two posts will give you lots to think about in order to bring fitness into your life. The next thing is to make it happen.

One of the best ways to make sure nothing gets in the way is to make a family fitness plan. With just a little strategic forethought you can be ready to roll when you have an opportunity for action.

And be prepared – You’ll be amazed at how family fitness brings to your family not only better health . . . but also stronger family bonds, more confident kids and many other gifts you wouldn’t necessarily expect from exercise.

Let’s Talk

If you have any questions about family fitness, I’d love to hear from you below. I’ll be checking in all day and answering your questions and comments.

Sarah Clachar is a mom, wife, professional health writer, organic farmer, avid mountain biker and hiker. She is also founder of Fit Family Together, where you can find tips, inspiration and strategies for making family fitness part of your family life. Hop over there right now and sign up for her free 7-Day Fit Family Together Challenge and get your very own family fitness plan started.

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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  1. I ran with my 12 year old yesterday. He smoked me. I am so sore today that I am well aware that I need new running shoes. I do 6 hours of Jazzercise a week. I’m in decent shape. I guess I’ll try again. There’s just something about running with your kid!
    Christy´s latest post: 365- Wednesday- June 22- 2011

    • Christy – that’s so funny! I know how you feel. My husband and I are constantly half-joking is that the reason we have to stay in shape is to keep up with our kids. That image of giving up mountain bike rides or hikes with them because we can’t keep up keeps us pushing harder when we bike or run!

      And also a warning here – kids are incredibly resilient. Our older bodies need a lot more help in recovering from a tough workout and going into it. So as appealing as the idea is to get moving at your kids’ pace, take it in small increments. Go for a short run at first and work up. And give yourself some recovery time the next day! In the long run your body will welcome the new moves and increased pace, but you do need to work into it!

  2. Sarah, thank you so much for this series! I’ve really enjoyed it and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from you about family fitness and the importance of, like you say, just getting out there and getting started.

    My husband is lot better than I am about jumping in with the kids and being active, but it is something that I want to be better about. Right now Chris is the one who initiates the bikes rides and backyard basketball games. But, I know that family fitness is important and I want to be a good example for the kids of being active, too so that they see it from both of their parents.

    Right now, in my very pregnant state, going for daily walks is the main source of my exercise, but I’d love to hear some suggestions from you for being active once the baby comes and the initial post-partum period is over – things that my kiddos and I can enjoy together. I’m not always the best at thinking of things that have appeal for toddlers and elementary aged kids that we can all do as a family.

    Thank you for the inspiration! And, for the motivation to just keep it simple and get out there and DO IT 🙂
    Kara @SimpleKids´s latest post: Just Doing It- The Most Important Part of Family Fitness

    • Kara- I’d encourage you to go find a Jazzercise center near you. As long as your doctor is all right with it, you could start classes. It is easy to adjust the routines to be low impact. Our students that Jazzercise before and after they deliver are in better shape, thus making delivery and recovery faster and easier. Quite a few of the centers around us have childcare as well.
      Christy´s latest post: 365: Wednesday, June 22, 2011

  3. Kara,
    It’s been great to be here. Thank you for your question – I’ve been meaning to put more post-natal info up and this inspires me to do so.

    You’re doing one of the best things for postnatal fitness by staying active as much as possible pre-delivery! Your body will be that much more prepared to get back in action!

    My favorite post-natal activities:
    1. Dancing with my baby (everyone can join in). Put on some music and hold your babe close or put them in a Snugli. And simply move gently with the music. Get some good squats in as you move. That in itself can be a good workout.

    2. Stretching and doing basic calisthenics with my baby. Use your baby as a focal point as you stretch and do some exercise. Put them on a blanket on the floor and straddle around them. Try to stretch down to blow on their belly. Or simply lean over them and go down as far as you can. You can also kneel and do modified pushups over your baby. Also, just lie down and try and mimic some of your baby’s moves – your older kids might really love this game.

    3. Sneak in short bursts. Sometimes with family fitness you need to supplement. And that’s where short bursts that don’t take a lot of time help tremendously. Take a moment when you’re not baby-preoccupied and do 15 jumping jacks with your older kids. Or play a quick game of chase. Or on your own jog in place for a count of 70, knees high. Do that a few times. Or jump rope a couple sets. Grab little moments – it doesn’t have to be long to add up!

  4. Thanks for the reminder Kara. I don’t know how many times in the last five years I have said “tomorrow”. Tomorrow we’ll do this or that and it hasn’t come yet.

    I need to be the example and lose weight myself as well as get my kids excited about fitness and keeping healthy.
    Alaina Frederick´s latest post: Family Holiday Guide: Plan the Perfect Vacation

    • Ah, Alaina, you just reminded me of one more fitness tips we can learn from our children: Don’t wait for tomorrow (they never can!) That’s why it helps to think small and simple to start off with – and to keep things going. Just do a little movement here and there – right now!

      And you’re so right, it’s a great way to help our kids develop healthy habits. As I’ve found out too many times, kids are keen observers and mimickers. They love to mimic what we do. But getting them to simply follow what we say is tough!

      It’s great that you’re seeing on your weight loss as a family thing. Be sure and visit Fit Family Together to get more ideas and encouragement!
      Sarah´s latest post: Just Say “No”

  5. I really enjoyed this series. Thank you!
    Luanne´s latest post: Bounty…

  6. I loved this series! Most weeks I am able to get to some form of organized physical activity but when I am not it is nice to know that just skipping along with my toddlers is appropriate as well!
    Audrey’s Mom´s latest post: Local Edition, Weeding Wednesday

  7. What a great reminder! And it is so important to help children understand that fitness can be fun (especially as a family activity). My son loves to jump and run and he seems to love it all the more when we do it together.
    Kimberly´s latest post: 9 Ways Exercising (and TurboFire) Is Like Sleep Training

  8. graet ideas so just do it
    yaniv´s latest post: Setting a Large Camping Tent