Four Ways to Boost Your Family’s Activity Level


by Don Zabloski

When it comes to being active as a family, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Every family is unique and will make active choices that work for them. Some families may thrive on friendly competition, while others prefer not to keep score. One family may choose to devote themselves to a beloved sport, while another finds that they thrive in a variety of activities. Here are some active suggestions to try on for size with your team.

1. Tackle a new challenge
Trying something completely new can be energizing. It could be learning to cross-country ski on a nature trail or working up the courage to jump off the diving board at the community pool. Brainstorm activities you’ve never tried but always wanted to—how about bowling, archery, mini-golf or trampolining? Spend a weekend afternoon at the local recreation centre as a family, experiencing all that it has to offer for adults and kids alike. Or, head outside to the local park for a walk, run, hike or scavenger hunt.

2. Register for an event
Commit to taking part in a community event, such as an organized walk/run, a triathlon, or a charity fundraising bike-a-thon. Make sure there is a way for all everyone to participate—for example, by entering an appropriate age category or riding along in a stroller. Individual dreams and goals may vary, but the core idea is the same: to make a commitment to do something active and continue to work towards it, with the family’s support and encouragement. Think of the sense of achievement family members will feel as they cross their own personal finish line with loved ones cheering them on. It is also inspiring and humbling to be part of a charitable effort toward a worthwhile cause.

3. Get advice from an expert
One of Canada’s most trusted parenting authors, Ann Douglas, has partnered with Active For Life on an initiative called #ProjectActiveFamily. In a series of online blog posts, Ann is sharing highlights of her research on forming good habits, including active, healthy ones. The goal is to help your family become (or continue to be) active, in what she calls “a fun, achievable, and totally guilt-free way.” Many of the ideas also appear in Ann’s latest book, Happy Parents Happy Kids, which she calls “a guide to boosting your enjoyment of parenting while maximizing the health and happiness of your entire family at the same time.” For more information, visit

4. Join a community challenge
ParticipACTION, a longtime promoter of physical activity in Canada, wants to prove that “everything gets better when you get active.” To spread this message across the country, they’re launching the Community Better Challenge, intended to inspire families, friends and neighbours to sit less and move more, together. Organizations can apply for a grant to support their active efforts. The challenge will kick off this spring and the search for “Canada’s most active community” will begin. For more information, visit

Running Room sponsors many community and charitable events across Canada, and we look forward to seeing you there. Have fun, celebrate the process and enjoy the experience when the “big day” arrives. Remember, it doesn’t really matter what gets your family going, as long as they go for it!




Don Zabloski is a retired Physical Education and Health Consultant and the co-author of Running Room’s Book on Family Fitness with John Stanton.

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