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Too Busy to Exercise? Create a Family Challenge and Get Moving!

Busy. Active. Frenzied. Rushed. Scheduled. Hectic.

Do any of these sound like your family? As a result of longer commutes, a rise in two-parent working families and the demands of individual schedules, families have limited time to spend together. And when they do have time together, much of the “leisure” time as a family consists of shared space in front of a screen—cinema, television, or individual phones, tablets or computers.

While we can’t always deny the call of the couch, especially at the end of a busy multi-tasking day, maybe we can rise to a family health challenge. The lure of social media can’t be denied. Just ask #trashtag. Ask your kids to help you pick up trash at the corner lot and you may receive a noncommittal shrug. Ask your kids to help you post before and after #trashtag pics and you may have found a viral motivator.

Instead of lecturing your family on the benefits of an active lifestyle and the mental and physical perks of moving around—choose a family challenge that’s guaranteed to get your family moving. And it just might be fun.

Find an activity that fits your family’s lifestyle and energy level. Challenge your family, challenge other families, share your results online. See if you can make your family challenge go viral.

Here are a few starter ideas—but don’t stop here—be creative and get moving!

Family Dance-Off Challenge: Give each family member 5 minutes to choreograph dance movements for a song. Record each family member and vote on results. Post the winner’s video!

Cause Fitness: Like the appeal of #trashtag, sometimes personal fitness goals are too…personal. Combining your health goals with fundraising for a great cause may be the right motivator. Consider asking friends (online and in person) to donate based on the steps your family takes, kilometers you bike or number of times you can jump rope in two minutes. Donate the money you raise to your favorite diabetes organization. It’s a double win—your family gets active to prep for the big challenge and you raise awareness for diabetes.

Family Obstacle Course: Work together as a family to construct or plan a family obstacle course.  It can be as simple as a route through the neighborhood park that includes bars, slides and laps around the play area, or a DIY course in your backyard. Record the time it takes each family member to complete the course. See which family member can improve their own time the most. You never know, your videos may start out as #funny and end up #NinjaWarrior.

Family Firsts: See how many “Firsts” your family can achieve within a month. Share your goal with friends or communities online and challenge other families. Try to keep the #FirstTime achievements physical and exercise-related, whether it’s your first time playing tennis as a family or your first time kayaking. The sky’s the limit. Maybe for your family, it’s #FirstTimeSkyDiving!

Quick & Dirty: If you have younger family members or limited time, try a 2-minute family pickup race. See who can pick up and put away the most items in two minutes. To combine family fitness with community cleanup, challenge your family to see how quickly you can clean up a local park or beachfront. You can always post your before/after pics with #trashtag!

Fast Fitness: Reluctant to give up TV night? Try some simple fitness challenges during commercial breaks: who can hold a plank position the longest? Which family member can do the most sit-ups during the break? Other ideas could include jumping jack challenges or laps up and down the stairs/hallway. If you’re breathing hard when you return to your chair after the commercial break, you’re heading in the right direction!

Not interested in social posting? Commit to a family challenge and skip the social posts. You can still take a picture of the winner(s) and have fun getting fit as a family.


1) Maughan, Rick. Parents ‘spend just 34 minutes a day with the children’ – because stressful life is too distracting. Mirror. 14 Apr 2015. 

2) Nace, Trevor. #TrashTag challenge goes viral as people share before/after photos of their cleanup. Forbes. 12 Mar 2019.


Published on 31 Oct 2019


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