Family Fitness Challenge
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Family Fitness Challenge

Need tips on keeping your kids (and yourself) in shape while you’re at home? We’ve got your back.

By Kellee Katagi

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Two days into our state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, my husband announced the LOCKDOWN 2020 Family Fitness Challenge. Our three kids half-listened as he outlined the details—until he got to the incentive: $5 for each category completed. Suddenly, it was on.

My husband’s initiative is proving to be a lifesaver as we navigate these uncharted global-pandemic waters, which are resulting in more home-togetherness time than we ever could have imagined. His challenge has provided the kids (and, let’s be honest, the adults) motivation and structure to keep moving when sports are canceled and gyms are closed. As a bonus, my kids’ activity counts for their online-school P.E. requirements. For me, on several days when my spirits were sagging, my workout has supplied a mental and emotional boost.

Here, we offer ideas for creating your own family-fitness challenge, as well as other resources for staying fit and healthy within your own home.

How to Create a Challenge

  • Make it simple. For ours, my husband made a chart with four exercises and a target number of reps to perform: squats (1,000), push-ups (500), pull-ups (200) and sit-ups (500). The incentive: $5 per completed category. We can do them on our own schedule and within our own parameters (for example, assisted pull-ups or push-ups from our knees, if necessary).
  • Make it yours. Choose exercises or activities that suit your family and incentives that are enticing. Maybe simply logging active time will work best. Or perhaps extra screen time or a special treat will motivate your kids better than money. Do what you need to do to make it work.
  • Make it visible. We hung our chart in a place that gets a lot of foot traffic. Family members track their progress on the chart (we’re using the honor system), and then we mark when the payoff occurs. To date, my daughter and I have completed the challenge (go, girls!), and my husband and two sons are well on their way. 

Online Inspiration

If your kids need more direction for staying fit and active, try these free online resources. 

The Body Coach. Tune in daily to U.K. fitness phenom Joe Wicks’s 30-minute P.E. with Joe videos—made special for the COVID-19 global shut-down—on his The Body Coach TV YouTube channel. The kids will love his fun vibe, and you’ll love his accent. Pro tip: Younger kids may enjoy his April 3 post, where a superhero makes an appearance. And while you’re on the site, check out his hundreds of other workout videos for grownups. Ideal age: any age, really

Fitness Blender. This popular fitness site offers a 25-minute YouTube video that employs games and simple exercises aimed at younger children. Ideal ages: 5–10

Paul Eugene. Try this 20-minute kids dance workout. We promise: The movements are simple enough for nondancers. Ideal ages: 5–12

POPSUGAR Fitness. The whole family can get a quick workout in with this 13-minute cardio video that sprinkles in some friendly competition. Ideal ages: the whole family

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