As a mom to four and seven-year-olds and stepmom to 18 and 20-year-olds, I have by no means been a perfect parent. But I am proud of the fact that my husband and I have managed to integrate fitness and a balanced diet very naturally into our kids’ lives. We decided very early on to be an active, adventurous family – and for us that has meant plenty of trail hiking, bike riding, park walking, pool swimming, playground climbing, and on occasion, river rafting, snow skiing and mountain climbing as well.
We don’t have a whole lot of time or money, but we’ve worked hard to include fitness in our family’s daily routine. We often go for walks after dinner, my kids spend the bulk of their after-school time outside playing with friends, and I schedule my workouts at the YMCA to coincide with Y’s youth fitness classes. But one of the best ideas I’ve ever had to keep my family active is what became known as the Ferrier Fitness Challenge.
We keep a monthly calendar in our kitchen and my husband likes to mark the days that he works out, as a personal incentive. A few years ago, I began doing the same thing, and since both of us are naturally competitive, we started keeping tabs on who had logged the most hours at the gym each week. I decided to get my teens involved and offered a $15 iTunes card to the person who had logged the most exercise hours by the end of the month. All of us got really into it, meticulously writing our times on the calendar each day and ribbing each other throughout the month about who was going to win. Over time, I even found myself going an extra 15 minutes whenever I could, all in hopes of winning the challenge.
It was a huge success, so much so that we’ve done it several times since, and now plan to revive it with our little ones when they’re a bit older. Creating a Family Fitness Challenge is a great way to jumpstart your family fitness routine. There’s nothing like a little healthy competition – and a prize at the end – to motivate you and your family to stay active!
What does your family do to help motivate you to stay active? Share in the comments below!
Lindsay Ferrier is an Emmy award-winning journalist who found a new career as a blogger (Suburban Turmoil) after having children. She now has two stepdaughters in college, a four-year-old boy and seven-year-old girl.