Fitness fun...together!

By: Michele Drake

Author: Canadian Living


Fitness fun...together!

By: Michele Drake

It can be challenging to free up a few minutes to take a shower, much less find time for a fitness regime and family bonding. For a smart way to multitask, combine fitness, fun and family time all in one. Take game night away from the table and get your heart beating in perfect harmony with fellow Canadians who are having fun with their kids.

BLAST (Balanced, Living Active, Sport Training) is a fitness program that engages family in sport training together – younger ones incorporate more gaming into their routines while parents do full sets of exercises and drills.

The trick to keeping kids active is realizing that although they may not want to exercise, odds are, they are willing to play. Take the "work" out of "workout" by playing these games together. Follow these guidelines to maximize family fitness:

• Have fun together.
• Drink lots of water (at least 3-5 gulps every 20 minutes).
• To start, exercise for short periods of time and then build endurance as you progress.
• Listen to your body's warning signals – if something doesn't feel right, stop.
• Look out for the little ones – excitement may overcome you and the kids, so watch out for roughness.
• Laugh a lot.

Body Moves Memory Game

• Memory and creativity
• Provides a functional energizing warm up for any activity (tennis, soccer, etc.)
• Teamwork

This game mimics The Telephone (storytelling) Game from years past. One person performs a movement and the next person adds another move, plus performs the string of prior movements. Imagination and experimentation are welcome but we offer inspiration for warm up moves below. NOTE: Someone may be skilled at a specific sport or dance and add a move that's too difficult for young children. You may opt to not perform the challenging add• on, so younger kids can follow your lead without being discouraged.

Sample movements:
• Leg swings. (See image page one.)
• Walk on toes.
• Walk on heels.
• Start on heel and roll to a toe• walk.
• Walking lunges – keep your abs tight, chest up and apply pressure into the front heel. Your front knee should not your pass toes.
• Weight transfers – Place about 80 per cent of your weight on one leg, shift your weight to the other leg (see image on page).
• Jump side to side – landing on one leg.
Try to add up to 10 different movements.

Circle tag

• Teamwork
• Lateral movement
• Read and react
• Agility

*This is a fast• paced, excitable game so take extra care with the smaller children involved. If there are great height differences, group the smaller kids first and designate a taller person as the outside person who "tags" and vice versa.

Everyone stands in a circle formation, facing inwards. You may choose to place your arms over the shoulders of your neighbours, lock elbows or hold a hoola hoop or rope. One person who is part of the circle is "it." One person who stands outside of the circle is also "it." The object of the game is for the people who make up the circle to act as a team and protect their "it" from being tagged on the shoulder by the outsider. Play for 30• second intervals and switch "its."

Remember that if your children see you taking pleasure in fitness, and incorporating exercise into your schedule on a daily basis, chances are much greater that they will adhere to a fitness plan that delivers a lifetime of benefits.


Michele Drake is a Toronto- based fitness consultant. She is certified with a long list of associations including the Canadian Personal Trainers Network, CanFitPro and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. She is also the president of BLAST®, a sport-training program for adults and kids alike.


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Fitness fun...together!