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10 At-Home Exercises for the Whole Family

10 At-Home Exercises for the Whole Family

Without access to a playground or a schoolyard, kids need a way to express their energy during quarantine. Studies show that missing out on regular exercise for a few weeks can lead to a host of health problems including teen depression. A daily at-home exercise routine can help bring the family together to promote wellness, focus, and calmness. Many of these activities engage your child’s imagination and include games for everyone. 

Building this home exercise routine while on lockdown can help everyone develop healthy habits for the future. These movements can be done without equipment so you can do them anytime, anywhere!

From bunny hops to throwing a dance party, these are some exercises that you can do at home, and they’re fun for the whole family:

1. Breathing

A girl is having a fresh air breathing outside

Let’s start off simple. Practicing breathing is the perfect warm up, but also engages all your senses for when you need a break from studying or need an energizing refresher. Breathing will help calm and focus your mind and get your blood pumping for all the movement to come.

Guide:

  • Everyone starts off sitting or standing in a comfortable position.
  • Relax your head and shoulders, making your face smooth and taking out any tension. from your neck.
  • Start to take deep breaths in from your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Hold for five Mississippi’s when you’re full of air and again when the tank is empty.
  • Focus on how each of the breaths changes your whole body. How does your chest feel? How about your toes?

Imagination Tip:

  • To help your kids focus in a fun way, everyone can imagine that they are breathing in their favorite (calming) color and exhaling a different color.

2. Stretching

A girl is preparing for exercise with stretching at home

Stretching is a crucial part of any exercise: it helps keep your body flexible, aids your muscles for growth and healing, and raises your heart rate. You should stretch for at least 5-10 minutes before exercising to get your body warmed up and ready.

Guide:

  • Toe Touches: Stand up as tall as you can with your arms up high. Slowly bend at the hip while keeping your legs straight and try to touch your toes flat on the ground. Slowly roll your back upright into a straight line.
  • Butterfly Stretch: Sit on the ground with your knees bent and the soles of your feet touching. Hold your feet together with your hands and gently press down on your knees with your elbows.
  • Hamstring Stretch: Stand on one leg and bend the other one so that it is behind you. Hold your foot behind you with the corresponding hand and use the other for balance. You can do this exercise together by holding your balance hand against another person’s balancing hand to try to stay upright together.
  • Arm Circles: Have your arms out to the side and even with your shoulders so you are making a big “T.” Slowly start to move your hands in small circles and start to expand them so that they are wide. You can make this challenging by alternating the direction of each hand.
  • Downward Dog: Get into a push-up position and walk your hands in slightly. Push your butt way up in the air and let your head hang down low.
  • Upward Dog: Get into a push-up position and drop your shoulders and stomach so that it is only just coming off the floor. Hold your chin high and enjoy the stretch.
  • Walk Out: Start with your hands high above your head. Slowly bend at the hip, touch the floor, and start walking your hands out so that you are in a push-up position. Walk them back and slowly stand back up.

Imagination Tip:

  • You can do the walk out with shoes on your hands to pretend that they are an extra set of legs!

3. High Knees

A guy has a high knees training at home

Alright, it’s movement time. There are several variations of high knees that can help you focus on the movement as well as create fun scenarios.

Guide:

  • Walk with a straight back and raise your knees way up high.
  • You can move your arms in a marching motion or hold them flat to give your knees a consistent target.

Imagination Tip:

  • Follow a ringleader around the house to marching fanfare.
  • You can turn this exercise into a fun red-light green-light game for everyone. On person is a traffic light and instructs whether or not the players can move to their goal across the room. If they don’t use high knees or don’t freeze when it’s a red light, they have to start back at the beginning.

4. Sit-Ups

A guy a home training with sit-ups

Sit-ups help engage your core and strengthen your center for long study hours or basic movement. Having strong abdominals are key to keeping your back straight and taking on weight like back packs.

Guide:

  • Lay on your back and bend your knees at a 45o angle. Hold your arms flat on the ground and sit up until they touch the backs of your heels.
  • Have someone gently hold your feet for support.

Motivational Tip:

  • Whenever you sit up, you can give the person holding your feet a high five for encouragement.

5. Squats

A girl has squads training at home

Squats can help you strengthen your legs, your back, and your core muscles.

Guide:

  • Stand with your feet pointing forward and shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees and keep a straight back.

Imagination Tip:

  • See who can sit on an invisible chair the longest.
  • Jumping squats can also be used for a game of leapfrog!  

6. Bear Crawls

A girl has a bear crawls workout at home
Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Bear crawls engage your whole body. They’re dynamic and require a lot of focus to act like a grizzly.

Guide:

  • Get in the push-up position and bend your elbows and knees so that only your hands and feet are touching the ground.
  • Move forward 3 paces and back 3 paces.
  • Move to the right for 3 paces and then to the left.

Motivational Tip:

  • You can line up pillows underneath your child in the direction of the train tracks to avoid setting down. But if they do fall, they have a soft place to land.
  • Race each other around your home like a bear! 

7. Push-Ups

A guy has a training at home with push-ups

Push-ups promote upper body strength and help support your core and your back. They’re a classic exercise, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make them fun with different variations.

Guide:

  • Get into a plank position with your hands shoulder width apart. Spread out your fingers and bend your elbows into 90o angles close to your body.

Motivational Tip:

  • Everyone can get into pairs facing each other 1 yard apart. After each push up you can raise your hand to high five the opposite person’s hand. The last pair to fall down is the winner!

8. Bunny Hop

bunny hop side hopping push up exercise

Time to draw on some whiskers. This exercise adds some cardio to the push-up routine and will get your heart racing.

Guide:

  • Assume the push-up position and hop out to your left, back to center, and then out to your right while your hands stay in place.

Motivational Tip:

  • The bunny hop is a good way to get a full-body cardio workout that keeps things moving for a distraction from getting tired. 

9. Lunges

A girl is preparing for working out with lunges exercise at home

Lunges can help give you endurance for running and strengthen muscles and support tendons around your knees – without having to leave your home.

Guide:

  • Take a big step forward with one leg while the back-leg knee gently touches the ground.
  • Make sure that your front knee doesn’t wobble around or bend past your toes.

Imagination Tip:

  • Everyone can come up with a different pose for their arms for every lunge. Superhero, tree, robot, dancer, the possibilities are endless. Whoever doesn’t repeat or copy someone else’s moves is the winner!

10. Throw a Dance Party

A girl is having a training and fun at the same time

That’s right, throw a dance party at home. Exercise should be a way for you and your family to express yourself and have some fun. Dancing allows everyone to enjoy time together, show their personalities, and get their cardio going in the process. There’s no guide to this one except to have fun.

We hope this list inspired you to take action, and that you will use it to spend this time at home in a creative manner.

Author Bio

Eric M. Earle is the founder of Tutor Portland. He became the premier math tutor in Portland, Oregon. He focuses on improving students’ math grades to better their college acceptance rates.

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