Family Funtime – Week 3 – Total Gym Family Workout

Total Gym Family Workout Series – Week 3


By this point in the Family Workout Series, everyone should be feeling more at ease with working out as a family and the friendly competition should be running high. Everyone should have a sense of their own areas of strength, be it upper body, legs, or abs. Each person should also know what he/she needs to focus on, whether it’s flexibility or endurance/stamina, etc. As parents, continue to build both team loyalty and individual pride in success through positive behavior modeling. Family workouts are fun, and there are numerous benefits other than the obvious fact that exercise improves health.


One of the benefits of exercising as a family is that it promotes togetherness.  The time that parents and children spend together is an opportunity for conversation, for checking in with each other emotionally. Often it’s easier for children to tap into how they feel when they are busy doing something kinetic. Talking while being active makes sharing less intimidating. Even if the activity is just tossing a ball back and forth, kids seem to be more willing to tell parents about their day, about their friends and teachers. They are less likely to feel that they’re the focus of a verbal interrogation.


The Heart of the Family

This week’s activities will be cardio- and stamina-based bonding activities. Try to engage each other every day for five days. Start with half an hour and work your way up to a full hour of cardio fitness. If your family is not particularly keen on getting up and running, start with 15 minutes of high intensity exercise.

High-intensity Intervals (Time these exercises for either the number of repetitions completed or the fastest time in which the exercise is completed. Record each person’s reps or time on a chart.)

  1. Jumping Jacks: Count how many are completed in one minute.
  1. Jump Rope: Count how many times you jump in one minute or set the timer and jump until you miss—then stop the timer.
  1. Stair Climbing/Running: Count how many times you go up and down stairs at a high school gym or track or at home in one minute.
  1. Step-ups: Count how many times you step up on a bench or box in one minute. Try alternating the lead foot.
  1. Shuttle Run: Put three items at the start line and mark three points on a field, in a back yard or at a park, that are evenly-spaced from each other. Start the timer and pick up the first item, run to the first mark and drop it. Run back to the start line. Pick up the second item, run to the second mark and drop it. Run back to the start line, pick up the third item and race to the finish line (the third mark). Stop the timer. The marks do NOT have to be linear, like a football field, if you don’t want to run very far—you can arrange the items in a circle.
  1. Skate/Bike/Swim Race: Conduct races at a park, on your cul de sac and in the pool. Go all out! Don’t leave anything at the start-line. Cheer when you cross the finish line and give high-fives all around. You can even make this a triathlon-type race with the events occurring back-to-back. Everyone wears bathing suits and swimshorts. The bikes and skates are at a start point. The race is to a set marker and back. The swim is just one length of the pool, starting from deep end and finishing at the shallow end.

Go the Distance (these are endurance sessions designed to help develop aerobic fitness)

  1. Walk three miles on a flat surface (this could even be in a pool.)
  1. Hike two or three miles on trails with moderate inclines.
  1. Bike five to ten miles on safe trails or marked bike lanes.
  1. Paddle a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board.


Release the Fun!

For just plain silly summer family exercises, here’s a list to start you off. Remember it feels good to play, and if you’re burning calories with your kids, then that’s even better.

  • Water balloon war: involves throwing, eye-hand coordination and running.
  • Water balloon toss: involves eye-hand coordination and team work.
  • Egg spoon race: involves eye-hand coordination and running.
  • Tag: involves running and changing direction quickly.
  • Swimming pool deep diving: involves swimming, holding breath and seeing underwater as you dive for sinkable items (even quarters would work.)
  • Jump and dive: involves jumping, swimming and climbing out of the pool as you strive to outdo everyone’s splash size with the most creative jump.
  • Beach games: Do a running long jump and use a jump rope to mark the distance. Other sand-friendly games include volleyball, paddle ball, Frisbee, football toss, and hacky sac.
  • Pool Madness: Sit on noodles and use your arms to race across the pool. Or use kickboards for racing. Or hold onto the noodles and kick your way across the pool that way.
  • Family outings: Rock climbing gym. Paddle boarding or kayaking. Tandem biking. Pedal boating.


Jodai Saremi

Jodai Saremi, DPM, BS , is a freelance writer, AFAA certified trainer, and fitness model. She has written for American Fitness, SPIN fitness, Your Health Connection magazines, and other online publications. Her articles have also been featured in textbooks. She enjoys an active lifestyle and lives in Ventura County, Calif. with her husband and two children.

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