The quiet rise in parent-child workouts has taken Matt Roberts (a London fitness guru and personal trainer to the stars) by surprise, he explains “There has been a real change with parent-child relationships becoming more social, with many now enjoying exercising together,” (Daily Telegraph, April 2018). Some experts suggest the rise in families working out together, is a backlash to all the screen time and scaremongering about technology creating a sedentary generation.
With this new trend of working out as a family in growth, we’ve listed some of the most popular classes and activities you can enjoy as a family-unit with children of all ages.
Let’s start at the beginning of a child’s life, with the ultimate fitness class for Mums and baby/toddlers to get back to fitness. Whatever your postnatal stage – these classes are designed to get Mum’s moving more and with post-natal strengthening in mind, they avoid exercises or moves that are not good for the body postpartum. All conducted whilst your little one (hopefully) sleeps soundly in their pram and you push them around! A great way to get fresh air and start the exercise journey together.
Yoga truly is a practice that can be enjoyed throughout your whole life, from prenatal yoga, baby yoga, children’s yoga, family yoga and beyond. Starting with baby yoga, it is a practice between the baby and parent with mutual benefits for the adult and infant. It allows the adult to relax and re-energise, and the benefits for the baby are also well documented, from strengthening the baby’s legs and spine, helping them with balance and flexibility as they develop, whilst also helping reduce colic and constipation. It’s also an excellent way to bond with your baby.
Family yoga sessions, typically suitable for children from 5-15 and their parents/grandparents are rising in popularity and it’s the perfect way to spend quality time together. No mobile phones, iPads or other distractions from one another – which is fairly rare in today’s hectic digital world. Energetic and fun, sessions promise to challenge everyone, whilst encouraging lots of teamwork and there are some light-hearted meditations and breathing practices to calm the mind and body, rejuvenating relaxations meaning everyone leaves feeling stretched and calm, and connected having had fun.
Organised Runs / Cycling / Triathlons
Okay, so it’s not a traditional style class, but there has been a huge shift change in whole families participating in these types of organised fitness events. Even long-standing traditional races like the Great North Run – stage fun runs alongside the main race, and cycling events are doing mini routes for children to participate alongside their parents. Every Saturday at 9am, in 453 parks across the country, thousands of families take part in 5k runs organised by Parkrun.
The organisation also puts on 2000 junior runs (4-14 year olds) in 167 locations across the UK on Sunday mornings. Likewise, GO TRI events, approved by Triathlon England, aim to make it an affordable option for families to run, cycle and swim together, while Reebok’s Spartan Race runs junior obstacle courses for 3-14 year olds. A trend, which continues at pace.
Move with Peppa
Taking the hugely popular pre-school character and turning it into a parent/child dance and movement class is genius, helping engage little ones by using the popular characters to build core movements, balance and agility. Sessions from 16 months – 2 ½ year olds and 2½ up to 5 year olds, alongside the parent.
Cardio Circuits / Kickboxing
For slightly older children 8-14 year olds, cardio circuit and kick-boxing sessions can be carefully designed to accommodate adults and children together, so everyone gets a safe and effective workout. Classes would start with warm up exercises, boxing drills, partner drills and then circuits of exercises all modified according to age and fitness levels, helping increase endurance and muscle strength.
Shake it off! Moving, grooving and working up a sweat, dance classes are the perfect fun and cardio workout. Classes can be put together across a plethora of styles to suit children from 18 months onwards alongside their parents and siblings. Whether its hip-hop, street dance or your own unique style – this is a firm family favourite when it comes to working out as a family!
1Life centres host hundreds of activities, classes and workouts that are suitable for your whole family. We pride ourselves on being the home of family fun and fitness. We work with countless partners as well as hosting our own classes and activities so we promised there’s always something for you.
Don’t forget that a simple bike ride, family walk, family swim or even game of badminton or tennis are great ways to keep active as family unit, and get your children off to that all important healthy start.