Family fitness at home

July 8, 2020 Swedish Health Team

Fitness at home can be fun for the whole family

  • Tailor your activities to match your family’s individual interest and abilities
  • Keep the focus on fun
  • Get creative to get your family moving


As we continue to adapt to the coronavirus (COVID-19) chaos the pandemic has caused in so many of our lives, staying fit and keeping active is one of the best ways we can manage the stress and added challenges to daily life we’re all facing. 

Many gyms and fitness centers are opening up as social distancing restrictions loosen some, but you may not feel comfortable heading back to the gym or regular exercise class just yet. There’s a lot to gain from staying physically active, but it’s often difficult to keep motivated and keep moving.

In honor of National Youth Sports Week, we’re gathering some resources to help you boost your family’s fitness level and keep you active even when you’re not straying too far from home.

Assess your family’s abilities and interest levels

If you keep your family’s natural temperament and interest level in mind and plan activities accordingly, you’ll have a much greater chance of success. Although it may seem fairly self-evident, it’s true—the more you enjoy an activity the more likely you are to continue doing it. 

Kids (and adults alike) tend to fall into one of three types:

  • The non-athlete may not have much natural athletic ability or interest in physical activity. They may need additional motivation to participate.
  • The casual athlete is interested but doesn’t excel at physical activity. If the environment is too competitive, they may become discouraged and resist future participation.
  • The athlete is committed to sports or an activity and is motivated to maintain high levels of physical activity.

Check out these simple guidelines for finding ways to:

  • Choose appropriate activities for your child’s age group.
  • Provide plenty of opportunities to be active.
  • Keep the focus on fun.

And parents and educators know that physical exercise can help kids get better sleep, improve their mood and motivate them to keep their grades up. Here are some resources from Move Your Way that encourage fun ways to get active and help you set up a weekly activity calendar that's easy to stick with.

Fun for the whole family

By now, you’ve likely heard several ideas for staying fit with your family. Social media, online news sources and even school communications are overflowing with ways to entertain your family in healthy ways while you’re cooped up at home. And if you’re like us, you may be looking for something new. Don’t let COVID-19 put a damper on your activities – try these unique ideas on for size:

  • Have daily competitions to see who can get in the most steps and have the one with the least steps complete a chore that’s both physical and productive like vacuuming, dusting or taking out the trash. 
  • Read a favorite story and encourage your kids to act out their favorite parts.
  • Have a daily dance party. Take turns choosing the music to keep it fun and upbeat.
  • Take online dance lessons and rock out to the oldies or learn the latest TikTok dance together.
  • Chop a supply of firewood and have your family help you stack it for future use.
  • Create a walking map of your neighborhood as you take your daily stroll. Use a compass and grid paper to make it “official” and less like a routine walk.
  • Make and fly a kite.
  • Investigate your area’s bike trails and plan cycling trips geared to your family members’ ages and abilities.
  • Have an outdoor treasure hunt for items that occur naturally or plan ahead and send your searchers out for items you’ve hidden in advance.
  • Learn to juggle.
  • Have a hula-hoop contest.
  • Practice jumping rope, either solo or double dutch, complete with rhymes, rhythms and tricks to keep it interesting.
  • Host a family four-square or hopscotch tournament in the driveway.
  • Teach your dog how to play Frisbee.
  • Create a family video of exercise routines. Let your kids direct, write and act it out to keep them involved in the process.
  • Play a naturally active game like Twister or charades.
  • Make a fort! Create a soft play area with quilts, pillows and air mattresses where kids can tumble and jump safely.
  • Learn a new game like pickleball, croquet, badminton or cornhole.
  • Add activity to household chores in small, fun-to-do increments. Jump on one foot 10 times before brushing your teeth. Run in place while making your bed. Circle the table three times while putting out plates for dinner.
  • Make a time capsule that highlights your family’s history and take turns preparing its intended location.
  • Try socially distant sports like tennis or golf. You can create these in your backyard as well.
  • Set up an inflatable pool in the backyard or run through the sprinklers.

With summer and fall sports hanging in the balance, be sure to check out the CDC's guidelines for safely returning to youth sports.

If you need care, don’t delay. Learn more about your options.


Find a doctor

Staying active and fit can be challenging, but the team of specialists at Swedish can help you develop a plan that keeps you and your family moving. Find a doctor you can trust in our provider directory.

Related resources

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Promoting resilience in young children: Five tips for parents

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional’s instructions.

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