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Family Fitness

Seven Most Effective Exercises

Many people view the new year as a time to make changes in their physical fitness. If you’re looking for easy changes you can make without an expensive gym membership, here are seven activities that will add to your success. Happy new year from all of us at FitFamily.

1. Walking
You can do it anytime, anywhere, and on your own terms. Start with 5 – 10 minutes a day, then add a few minutes each time to get up to at least 30 minutes. Then start challenging yourself by adding hills and speed.

2. Squats
Work your quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus muscles all in one exercise. Keep your form at the forefront with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Bend your knees and lower your butt, keeping your knees directly over your ankles, as if you were sitting down on a chair. Then straighten back up. Work up to 12 reps, then add hand weights.

3. Interval training
Vary the intensity of your workout from steady to intense and you’ll burn more calories. Just push your pace for a minute or two, then back off for 2-4 minutes and repeat.

4. Pushups
Strengthen and tighten your chest, shoulders, triceps and core muscles using your own body weight as resistance. If pushups are new to you, start by leaning on a solid counter, like a kitchen counter. As your strength builds, move to a tabletop height, a chair and then the floor with your knees bent. Need a challenge? Place your feet on a step, bench or even the couch.

5. Crunches
While crunches don’t actually burn stomach fat, they do tone the core and help define abdominal muscles. Be sure you don’t arch your back when you raise your head/neck/shoulders/upper back off the floor.

6. Lunges
Squats and lunges work the same major muscle groups of your lower body, but lunges can also improve our balance. Be sure to keep your weight on your back toes as you lunge.

7. Bent-over Row
Use a set of dumbbells to work your biceps plus all the major muscle groups of your upper back. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. Bend forward at your hips and gently engage your abs. Now bend your elbows and lift both hands toward the sides of your body. Pause at the top, then slowly lower your hands and repeat. Build to more weight as your fitness improves.

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