By: Linda McDonald
Who doesn’t love summer? The smell of freshly cut grass, toasting marshmallows over the fire, kids sitting on the couch staring mindlessly at their iphones…wait, that’s not right! But, unfortunately, it’s true nowadays. My teenage daughter takes selfies and sends snapchats faster than I can figure out how to silence my “Baby got Back” ring tone in church. Years ago, kids were outside playing from the time they woke up to the time the streetlights came on, but now sedentary activities can dominate those summer days. Staying active is important for not only the kids, but for the whole family!
When it comes to exercise, studies show that people are more motivated when they work out in groups. The same can be said for families working out together. Throughout the school year, life is hectic. Parents and kids are busy with work, homework, after school sports and activities. If you’re trying to stay fit this summer and keep the entire family moving, it doesn’t have to require a trip to the gym. Spending time together in your own back yard can be fun! It’s a great way to burn those extra calories that the ice cream truck delivers. It’s important, not only for the physical benefits, but for the emotional family connection.
With the warmer weather, there are lots of options to be active. Swimming, biking and roller blading are all great family activities. But, with a little imagination, you can have a ball in your backyard. You can find ways to be creative using backyard furniture or pulling out any fitness equipment you may have. I use my BOSU® equipment as part of an obstacle course. The BOSU® Balance Trainer comes in both adult and kid sizes, with an array of colors. The kids’ balance trainer, known as the BOSU® Sport, comes in bright neon colors. This is a sure fire way to get the kids to put their phones down. It’s like a magnet. Most kids will immediately step on it, and more than likely, will want to jump on it. What kid doesn’t want to jump on the bed? Jumping on a Balance Trainer won’t break the springs in your bed, and it will make them smile and giggle, all while burning off some extra energy!
I also bring out my BOSU® Ballast Ball. It looks like oversize beach ball, and is filled with a sand-like substance that makes it fun and dynamic to use. Whether you are 5 or 45, you can’t resist picking up the Ballast Ball! People are immediately surprised to feel the weight of it, and hear the swishing sound as it moves. Bonus feature: it won’t roll away from you!
Working out as a family in your back yard can be an effective way to stay fit. The key is to make it fun and stress free! Let the kids pick the games. They’ll have more skin in the game and it will allow them to use their imagination. Let the kids be the coach. It will give them a chance to be in charge and develop leadership skills.
Here are 6 ideas for family fitness games:
1. BOSU® Obstacle Course (Cardio, Strength, Core)
- BOSU® Balance Trainer plank
- Bodyweight push ups
- Picnic bench step ups
- Bodyweight squats
Spend 1 minute at each station. Count reps – Person with highest reps wins
2. BOSU® Surfing (Balance, Core, Agility)
- Lie on stomach on Balance Trainer, paddle/swim arms
- Jump up to standing position on dome to simulate surfing
3. BOSU® Watermelon Relay Races (Cardio, Balance, Agility)
- One teammate stands on Balance Trainer dome while other teammate carries a watermelon across the yard (run or speed walk) and brings it back to the next teammate
- Compete with other teams, first team to finish wins
4. BOSU® Watermelon Pass (Balance, Core)
- Kneeling on the Balance Trainer dome, pass watermelon to teammate
- Keep moving Balance Trainers further apart to make more challenging
- First one to drop watermelon loses
5. BOSU® Simon Says (Balance, Bodyweight Strength)
- Standing on Balance Trainer dome, perform varying squat patterns
- Simon says “touch toes,” “touch ankles,” “turn head,” “close eyes”
6. BOSU® Hot Potato (Core)
- Seated in V-sit position, teammates line up across from each other
- Toss Ballast Ball to teammates down the line
With a little bit of imagination, you can create fun fitness memories with your family. If you have a tween age kid like mine, you’ll probably end up with lots of family selfies as well. Maybe you’ll have your own family snapchat filter. If you don’t know what that means, consult your local tween. Have a ball!
Linda McDonald is a BOSU® National Master Trainer.