Family fitness activities and exercises

Monday January 25 2021
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Exercising as a family makes it fun even for children. PHOTO/gettyimages

By Joan Salmon

We lead such busy lives that family time is rare. Nonetheless, we can use fitness to foster more bonding while also keeping us healthy.

Swimming
This exercise will surely attract most children and is a sure way to get the whole family involved. Samson Kazibwe, a swimming instructor, says swimming is fun and is perfect even for those that have suffered injuries that do not allow for some exercises such as running. “It strengthens one’s upper body as well as their lungs, not forgetting the thighs and legs,” he says. Apart from being fun, it allows for lots of energy to be used hence calorie loss.

Jogging
It is not about winning, but getting the whole family to enjoy and be part of the activity. “Start with jogging around the compound. This allows for the legs to get used to the workout. Later, you can jog for longer distance,” Elijah Muhwezi, a fitness instructor, shares. Jogging will keep your lungs healthy as they get used to providing the body with oxygen at a faster rate. 

Skipping
There are several ways to engage in skipping such as skipping in groups, double dutch, or skipping singly. Whichever works for the family is fine, according to Sylvia Kabagenyi, a fitness coach. “Skipping is a sure way to cut that excess weight while having fun. You can go into a competition where you determine who can skip more as this will motivate those that may be slacking,” he says.
Cycling
It is not only fun but a sure way to get your lower body strengthened not forgetting your arms and grip strength. Vivian Thandi, a fitness enthusiast, says younger children can be engaged by getting a child seat installed on the bicycle of an adult so that they participate and enjoy the fresh air. “It will be great to ride on roads with little or no traffic to avoid accidents,” she says.

Tennis
Playing tennis is fun and allows for a lot of movement that will stretch various muscles. Gilbert Kintu, a tennis trainer, says engaging your family in games of tennis allows for them to run around, laugh hilariously at misses and triumphs while also teaching them to focus.
He adds that you can also engage in table tennis for those that are short of space as all you need is a large table you can turn into your play centre and a net.

Walking
It is not vigorous and, therefore, will be loved by children and the elderly yet deliver immense benefits. Muhwezi says with the right pair of shoes, a bottle of water for each person, the family can walk for a long stretch which will ton their legs and strengthen their hearts. “To make walking more interesting, allow children to walk ahead and back to keep them from getting bored,” he adds.

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Tug of war 
The thought of one group winning is so thrilling and will get everyone involved. “Just ensure that the participants are evenly distributed so that both teams are strong enough. Then let the pulling start. It will surely thrill everyone while getting grip strength improved, not forgetting balance as that is what it takes to pull better,” Thandi shares.

Follow the leader
It is common among nursery going children but there is no harm in an adult joining the fun. Thandi says you can take turns in being the leader as each leader brings a certain exercise on board. “It could be hopping, frog jumping, or skipping. That will not only be fun but allow you to try several exercises,” she says.

Classic games
These include hide and seek, kick the tin, and hopscotch. These will cause a lot of excitment as children watch adults jump and run while it will help the adults relieve stress. Muhwezi shares that games such as hide and seek will make one think fast while hopscotch will test and strengthen one’s balance as it is done mainly on one leg. 

Dance
“Play music that everyone in the family loves and dance till you start sweating. That will get you laughing at the various dance moves as you learn new ones while also burning off fat and relieve stress as the whole body is involved,” Muhwezi shares.

Gardening
Although it is considered by many as a house chore, you can turn it into a fitness activity by involving the whole family. “Start with weeding the garden or lawn for those that are a bit older while the younger ones pick rubbish. Then you may move to slashing and trimming the fence, if you have a natural one,” Edwin Masaba, a parent shares. Whatever your gardening is comprised of, it will be fun when done as a family yet also get the heart pumping faster, which is good for your health.
Muhwezi advises that a schedule is made and a different activity done at each meeting to ensure all round body exercising.

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