Kids begin to push away from their parents and exert their independence during the pre-teen years. Often the only interaction a family may have is through sports, where parents attend their children’s games and cheer from the sidelines. A great way to reconnect is through sports activities that involve the whole family. It doesn’t have to be complicated or involve score-keeping. It just needs to be fun. Total Gym is a great starting-place for families looking to increase bonding time through physical activity such as working out. The Total Gym machine is accessible to all fitness levels and it’s fun to ride the rails. You can incorporate the Total Gym in a variety of ways.
A Course of Action
Set up an obstacle course with the following stations and time each family member as they go through. Provide motivation by showing how their performance times improve if they do the course throughout the week more. You can even record each person and post the workout on social media as #workout or #familyworkout:
- 15 bicep curls on the Total Gym
- 10 pushups on a mat or the Total Gym glideboard
- shuffling side to side in a zig zag down a hallway
- sprints between two walls or up and down a hallway
- hopping up a staircase (step down with care) or hopping on the Total Gym squat stand
- throwing a ball high into the air and catching it 10 times
- jumping rope as many times as possible for a minute.
Start the Music
Sometimes it takes a little music to get the body moving. Have each family member choose a song and three movements to do to the song. People should be encouraged to “groove their move” (See Misty Tripoli on You Tube). It could be as simple as punching the air or doing knee-ups. It may be helpful to use the music to suggest the exercise. For example, if the song is “Jump” by Van Halen, then there should definitely be jumping involved. The Total Gym Step accessory can be used for those whose knees may need some low-impact assistance. Other options may include twisting for “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles or martial arts-style kicks for “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas. Make sure there’s enough room for everyone to move freely. And turn up the music—it increases the energy! Dancing can get silly: you can end up on the floor, especially with songs that tell you to “take it to the floor” or “take it down.” Get ready to laugh a lot. Dancing can be a warm-up for other activities or it can be the workout itself.
Outside the Box
Choose a sport and then come up with five exercises that are sport-specific. Explain that this is a form of functional fitness when the exercises help improve skills that an athlete executes while playing a game or competing in a sport. If a child plays soccer or basketball, have them use a ball to create dribbling exercises the whole family can practice. An MMA boxing set could include
- shadow-boxing for a minute or throwing alternating jabs on a bag or a pillow held by another family member
- bobbing and weaving while traveling under a clothesline across a floor (for core stability and spinal mobility)
- squat-front kicks (to build power in the thighs)
- skiing/hopping lunges (for fast feet and cardio)
- underhand front raises on the Total Gym (for building uppercut boxing power)
You can look online on You Tube for more ideas.
Keep it Real
Children, even teens, are more willing to engage with parents when there’s the promise of laughter. Give them the opportunity to teach you, their parents, something and help them be successful. The fact that you’re all exercising is secondary to the bonding that occurs while you’re having fun. #family #workout