Corinne Austin | Personal Training

Making Family Fitness Fun

Often we can be so transfixed on our own fitness goals and adventures that we neglect the abundance of opportunities available to us to be physical as a family unit.  We all know the benefits that exercise brings us, but it’s ability to foster stronger connections between the individuals of a family group becomes an untapped potential for many of us.


‘Those who play together stay together’ is a real thing.  The connection, the relationships, the rapport, the understanding, and the growth that comes from participating in physical activity as a family is powerful.  Practicing our daringness and adventurism together, and embracing the challenges thrown at us via the physical environments we dare to tackle can produce a bond between family members that many of us are have not experienced before.


Ideally family fitness adventures should be a priority in our week, but with us chasing the never-end routine of life we tend to find alternative ways to bide our non-work time – like watching movies and ‘chilling out’.  To many, fitness can also feel tedious, like a chore, or like something else to just ‘tick off’.


The key is to think of family fitness (or ALL fitness for that matter!) as fun!  Allow it to be an opening to make memories; an occasion that presents a myriad of opportunities to giggle, squirm, chase, climb, clamber, laugh hysterically, puff, sweat and squeal.  Let it be a chance to recreate the liberties you felt as a child, and a chance to remember what it feels like to be young, intrepid, and valiant.  And in the process, you’ll not only be teaching your children about being courageous, and enthusiastic, but you’ll be growing closer together too.

Here are my top tips for creating magic and memorable family fitness experiences that everybody wants to be involved in:


  • Go Outdoorsy! Forget routine and normality, embrace spontaneity (even if it requires just a little planning and fore-thought).  By going outdoors we conquer many things: 1) we instantly reduce the number of distractions that niggle at us at home; 2) we succumb to the natural calming properties of nature; and 3) we can become explorers and adventurers and discover places we had no idea even existed.  We are spoilt for choice in NZ – make a plan to go outdoorsy very on a regular basis.


  • Evening Strolls! It sounds all too easy – because it is! Embarking on a post-dinner leisurely stroll with the family is such an easy way to unwind after our hectic days, and to reconnect as a family.  Getting away from media, devices, and other homely distractions and into the fresh air is a brilliant habit to create.  Even ten minutes will do wonders for your collective soul and help you prepare for a restful sleep.


  • Fits and Giggles! As adults we forget that we can let loose, that we can remove the ‘grown up’ hat and throw on the ‘have some fun’ hat for a wee while. For our health it’s crucial to have fun – laughter is the best medicine after all! And what better way to do it than with our children.  Laughter and the endorphins released when we experience happiness and fun, provide us with so many benefits of enhanced health – how can you add some laughter to your family fitness activities?


  • Dare to be Daring!! One of the best ways to bond as a family is to do something that encourages you to all work together.  Whether that be packing up all the goodies required for a tramp, or embracing the thrill of a confidence course, anything that requires team work will enhance the functionality and relationship of your family unit.

  • Enter an Event! We can be sideline supporters at the sportsground every weekend, but what will help us grow as a family even more in participating in an event together.  There are so many fun runs around that promote family involvement.  Get into the action, get amongst the action, be the action, and create family memories.


  • Spread the Love!! Share the love of movement and fitness to outside your immediate family circle and include cousins and besties too.  Family events and occasions are a great opportunity to include bonding activities like touch rugby, croquet, or Frisbee.  I know our family loves a good game of beach volleyball – every Christmas the net comes out, and after Christmas lunch we each meander out for a round or two!  It’s brilliant, gets us chatting and laughing with family members we don’t see all too often, and helps us to relax and feel good.


Be creative. Find ways to connect your family through fitness and fun.  The power of play has many benefits, not the least is that of boosting family bonds and relationships whilst simultaneously improving everyone’s health and wellbeing.


  • Corinne Austin
  • Movement and Wellness Motivator