Experts recommend that adults and children take part in at least half an hour of cardiovascular exercise each day, or an hour of activity at least three times a week.
But with busy work/life timetables – for all the family – it can often seem like an uphill struggle to fit in even one exercise session a week.
However, for families with a bit of imagination there is a range of fun ways to spend time together – and get fit at the same time.
According to Ben Jamieson, a fitness expert who works with both adults and children, “the best fitness activities are the fun ones that you can do with other people”.
He says: “If exercise is repetitive and samey, people just won’t stick at it. In contrast, if you make exercise fun people will want to do it more often.
“And there are so many different and fun activities that families can do together.”
Ben adds: “It’s a case of using your imagination. So you might get the whole family to do a Play Station Dance Mat challenge one evening. Or you could try different races using floats and inflatable balls at the local swimming pool.”
Keep exercise short and sweet
Another top tip is to keep each activity short so that no-one gets bored. You could also introduce a fitness reward chart at home.
Ben says: “You can count a game of football with your friends, running to the shops to buy a newspaper and playing swing ball.”
Great fun-filled fitness activities for families
Good, old-fashioned fun
If you’re old enough to remember the craze for hula hoops, space hoppers and pogo sticks first time round, then you’ll have no problem picking up the techniques again. Show the kids how good you are – but also let them have a go.
Exercise benefits: Spinning a hula hoop will improve core muscles and hips flexors; space hoppers are great for cardio, as well as leg and core muscle toning;
pogo stick jumping is good cardio exercise and tones core and leg muscles.
Climbing the wall
Different grades of indoor climbing walls offer a challenge for all ages and abilities. See who can climb the highest or the hardest wall.
Exercise benefits: Cardiovascular, plus muscle toning and strength.
Walk this way
Buy each member of the family a pedometer and see who can walk the most steps over one week. Suddenly you’ll find that everyone is keen to walk to school, work and the shops.
Exercise benefits: Walking is a great form of aerobic exercise.
On your bikes
Inspire the children to go cycling by organising a weekend bike adventure that includes a trip to a café or ice-cream shop en route.
Exercise benefits: Even with the ice cream, cycling burns a lot of calories and is a great leg and bum muscle toner.