Photos courtesy of Maria Chatman

Children who learn healthy exercise and dietary habits at a young age tend to maintain these habits for a lifetime. And that's great to know—but the thought of adding a straight 30 minutes of family fitness to your already lengthy to-do list may seem nearly impossible.

Good news: Research shows that short bouts of physical activity throughout the day are as effective as long workouts, and they can certainly seem less daunting.

Here is an action plan to fit 30 minutes of activity into your day. It's broken up into three 10-minute sections—very manageable increments that you can do with your kids anytime, anywhere.

Changing routines and consistency can be tough for anyone, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, pause for a moment. Remember these activities only take a few minutes, and it’s a great place to start. YOU CAN DO THIS!

Rise & Stretch

Mornings can be the most hectic part of your family’s daily routine, which is why it’s important to start off on the right, healthy foot and set the tone for the rest of your day. Complete this series of stretches first thing in the morning to help increase energy, stimulate metabolism, and improve focus.

Cat & Cow

  • Start on hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.
  • Cow pose: Inhale as you drop your belly toward the mat. Lift your chin and chest, and gaze up toward the ceiling.
  • Cat pose: Exhale as you draw your belly to your spine and round your back toward the ceiling.
  • Repeat for 30 seconds and rest by sitting back on your heels with your torso upright.

Forward Fold

  • Standing with feet hip-distance apart and knees slightly bent, hinge forward at the hips.
  • Allow your upper body to fold over your legs, and grab opposite elbows. Remember to bend your knees and lean forward for extra low-back support.
  • Hold for 5 deep breaths while you gently shake your head move head side to side.
  • To come up, pull in abs and gently round up one vertebra at a time.

Triangle Pose

  • Step your feet wide apart with your heels aligned.
  • Turn your right foot out 90 degrees so your toes are pointing forward.
  • Pivot your left foot slightly inward, and back toes should be at a 45-degree angle.
  • With your right leg forward, place your right hand on your right shin, ankle, or floor and your left hand on your left ribs.
  • Then roll your torso open to the left so your left shoulder lines up over your right shoulder.
  • Lift your left arm straight up toward the ceiling so it's in line with your right arm.
  • Try to stay long and look up at your left arm.
  • Take 5 deep breaths and switch sides.

Afternoon Shake Out

By now you have had breakfast and lunch, the day is in full swing, and energy levels are likely at a high. Take advantage and get in some high-intensity movements that will have you soaring until dinner. Do three rounds of each of the following exercises, 30 seconds each followed by 30 seconds of rest.

Star Jumps

  • Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms down by your side.
  • Squat down halfway and explode back up as high as possible.
  • Fully extend your entire body, spreading your legs and arms away from the body.
  • Land as softly as possible back into starting position.

Mountain Climbers

  • Start in a high plank position, stacking shoulders over your wrists.
  • Begin to alternate knees to chest in a quick, swift motion, minimizing time your feet are on the ground each time you alternate.

Jump Lunges

  • Begin standing with your right leg and left arm forward with a 90-degree bend in the right leg.
  • Jump and switch so that your left leg and right arm come forward.
  • Continue to alternate.

Power-Off Activity Break

If your kids are glued to their screens in the evening, make a rule to take activity breaks. For example, for every hour of screen time your family spends, take a 10-minute timeout for an activity. Try these partner exercises for some bonus bonding time. Do three rounds of each of the following exercises, 30 seconds each followed by 30 seconds of rest:

Partner Push-Up Plank

  • Get into a high plank position head-to-head with your partner keeping about a foot of space between the two of you.
  • Keeping your shoulders and hips square, slap right hands with each other, then slap left hands with each other.
  • Add a push in between for an extra challenge (optional).

Partner Plank Hop-Overs

  • Person 1 holds a forearm plank while Person 2 jumps laterally over their partner’s feet.
  • Perform 10 and then switch positions.

Crunches

  • Both partners will sit facing each other, knees bent.
  • Person 1 will hook their feet around ankles of Person 2 and vice versa.
  • Simultaneously, both people will lie back on the ground with hands over their heads then curl all the way up to a seated position.
  • High-five each other at the top of the movement.

And just like that, you have done an additional 30 minutes of physical activity! Be consistent, and before you know it, you will be on your way to establishing lifelong healthy habits for you and your family.


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