A blog by runners. For runners.

Make fitness a family affair during the holidays

family-fitness-ideas-holiday-editionSleigh bells ring over the river and through the wood as we deck the halls this holiday season. No matter what you celebrate, these next several weeks are a time to spend with family and friends. However, just as we pass the gravy, cut into the Christmas bird, and pop the cork on our 2016 bubbly, we can also share much more with our loved ones than food and merrymaking.

Here are some ways to incorporate activity into the festivities:

  • Take a walk or jog — not just around the block for the cardiovascular benefits either. Consider heading out at night to take in the twinkling Christmas lights in your neighborhood. Or go caroling with a group of your more musically inclined friends. And the best way to help digest from a big Thanksgiving meal is with a gentle walk in the late afternoon.
  • Participate in a (holiday) race. There are a lot of walk/run events in cities and towns across the country and the world in the next few weeks. Some even involve costumes. How fun! Make it a family affair by printing up a t-shirt or placing bets on finish times. You don’t need to be particularly speedy, just spirited. (You can find one here.)
  • Break into teams. A great way to get everyone moving is to play a friendly game of tag football, kickball, or other team sport. Nothing too competitive or exclusive — try to make it accessible to Grandma and little Timmy. Remember that any new activity should be entered with caution. Watch you footing and any foreign movements to avoid injury.
  • Head to a local festival. My hometown hosts a Dickens of a Christmas celebration the first weekend in December. Consider taking the whole family and walking around a similar event for the bulk of an afternoon. Between food vendors and artisans, street performers and musical performances — you’ll likely find there’s a lot to walk to and from, especially if you wear a pedometer.
  • Think outside the box or tree stand. Real trees are more fun. Why not head to a local tree farm to hike and find your perfect Christmas centerpiece this season? You’d be surprised between the hills and selection process (never take the first one you find — survey all your options!) and distance and difficulty you might encounter. Make sure to bring some hot cocoa to fuel up with when you’re done.
  • Share your resolutions. It may only be November, but it’s not too early to start thinking about those goals for the new year. Think about giving your friend or family member a gym membership (or asking for one yourself). Sharing your fitness goals with another person gets the whole accountability ball rolling. You may even find a exercise partner you didn’t think you had!
  • Park the car. There are a lot of holiday errands to run between shopping, mailing out cards and packages, and going to/from events. Try to do as much as this work as possible on foot or by bike. This might mean grouping these activities to take advantage of a central parking spot or just leaving the car behind altogether. Be sure to bring along an extra set of hands to help carry envelopes or pick out presents.

What’s your favorite way to make fitness a family affair during the holidays?

Written by  Ashley Marcin.