Family Fitness Over the Holidays

Are you looking for more ways to spend time with your kids, off the electronics all while keeping them moving this holiday season? For most families on Thanksgiving, physically getting up and moving takes a back burner to all that turkey, stuffing,  and pie. 

The traditional Thanksgiving go-to when it comes to family fun play…is football. It’s hard to argue that splitting up the extended family into a giant game of two-hand touch always calls for family fun of countless memories.  However, if the weather doesn’t want to contribute or space doesn’t support the pigskin tradition, there are lots of other opportunities.

Obstacle Courses

Everyone loves obstacle courses, not only are they fun to run through but sometimes the best part is just putting them together! With the current rage of American Ninja Warrior and other obstacle events, kids (or anyone of ALL AGES) love getting outside and running around with a goal and purpose. You see AFF Activities use them often, maybe even a little too much in our Youth Activities schedules and we even offer Obstacle Course Themed Birthday Parties!

While this may seem like an intricate and chaotic task, it doesn’t need to be. Using equipment as simple as cones and random household objects (a broom and 2 chairs= an obstacle to crawl under!) is all it takes. There are endless ways you can set up a fun and safe course, including a seasonal bonus of a pile of leaves for the finish line. Have a relative that doesn’t have much functional movement but wants to be involved? They can be an “obstacle” to run around and race back, or have them spread the legs apart for the littles to crawl under… the possibilities are ENDLESS!

Usually, the downsides to most physical activities for family events are that the differences in ages and abilities can cause siblings to fight or feel left out. However, when it comes to obstacle courses, if the stated goal is to beat your own time, it’ll erase any advantages and have the kids rooting for each other rather than arguing…way to save the day mom and dad! Hey! And Grandma & Grandpa can get in on this race too!

Scavenger Hunts

Want to keep up with the team comradery theme? Scavenger hunts are a laidback way to get the entire family of all ages working and playing together.  

There are so many options with a scavenger hunt; you can follow the traditional format of a scavenger hunt. Having the two teams find different items in a set amount of time is your normal traditional scavenger hunt. Or try making it a seasonal hunt for fall items that can be found in the home. (I.e. pumpkins of any size/or thanksgiving decorations could make it even more exciting.)  Again, here is an opportunity of letting the kids take turns to design the hunt is a great way to spark their creativity! (MOM: Think, now you can prep that cranberry sauce while they have quiet time drawing up hunt…)

If you’re looking for a more active scavenger hunt, add ‘movement items’ or exercises the teams have to complete off their list. An example of this is each team has to do a combined total of 50 Push-Ups (Dad does 30, kids do 10 each) or everyone has to run a loop around the outside of the house 3 times. For younger kids, add animal movements like “hop like a bunny five times”, “crawl to the tree like a bear”, whatever you and your family decide… but be sure to always add the gobble like a turkey! *NOISES are a must for that family fun!

Even better, use the combination of the traditional scavenger hunt with the ‘movement items’ so the participants are using their brains and bodies. We love mixing the brain and body!

At AFF

Are you looking for even more ways to spend time with your kids? The best family fitness center in Fredericksburg & Richmond, Virginia knows that families who work out together stay the healthiest together. Not only is working out together fun, but you get to celebrate each other’s victories, big and small. Make healthy living a reality for your family, not just over this holiday break but each and every day! American Family Fitness offers a variety of activities for children & families.

You can always shoot a game of basketball, splash around in our indoor pool, play a game of Racquetball and a variety of other activities for children & families. Check out our schedules to see our family-friendly classes or stop in today to learn more about the benefits of working out together.

Thanksgiving will always be about family, food, and football. But I know there are some looking for different ways to be active this year. There are so many options, including tons in addition to the examples given.  Even if football remains an essential to your holiday, mixing in some of these new activities might be a welcome twist and become a new family favorite tradition. No matter which option you choose, being active while spending time with your family is always a winning combination.

From our Fit Fam to yours,

Happy Thanksgiving!

Parker Osborne is the Youth Exercise Fitness Director at American Family Fitness Fredericksburg and has been with AFF since 2009. She also teaches AFF’s Coach by Color® indoor cycling class and coaches Fusion team training. Parker holds certifications with Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) as a Primary Group Fitness Instructor and G.E.A.R. Indoor Cycling Instructor, as well as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Youth Exercise Specialist. Parker has always had a lifelong dream of educating others, and in 2014 she graduated from Germana Community College with an A.A.S in Education (Cum Laude). When Parker isn’t teaching cycle or coaching Fusion, you’ll find her on the gym floor working out or enjoying family time with her husband and two girls. Follow her on Facebook @ Parker Pro Osborne and InstaGram (@Parker.Pro.Osborne) where she likes to share her tips and tricks on indoor cycling!

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