Get moving — together!

Family fitness classes make it easy to get off the couch and have some fun

Have you resolved to make 2018 the year your family gets fit? Exercise doesn’t have to mean dropping the kids off at swim or soccer lessons while you wait for a free evening to get in some time at the gym. Across New Hampshire, all-ages exercise classes and fitness activities are plentiful. If dancing, skiing, rock climbing, or training for a family 5K sound good, here’s a rundown of where the family can work out together.

Family classes and activities

Childlight Yoga in Dover starts a new session of its popular Little Family Yoga classes for parents and young children (ages 2-4) this month. Learn kid-friendly yoga poses and take part in fun movement activities you can do later at home. One of the benefits of family yoga is its effectiveness in giving you better tools for managing stress. When you’re stuck inside during an endless January cold snap striking a quick warrior pose with your kids may be just what all of you need to stay calm.

Broadway North in Belmont offers Family Hip Hop dance classes and Zumba fitness classes for families, both fun ways to squeeze in an aerobic workout without it feeling too much like an exercise class. No matter what your skill level when you start, pushing your boundaries and trying something new is an important lesson for your kids — and you can show them that you’ve still got rhythm.

Take your all-ages workout to new heights at Open Family Climb at the YMCA in Concord. On Wednesday and Friday evenings, kids and their parents are welcome to climb the facility’s rock wall, with staff on hand to assist with equipment and instruction. YMCAs throughout New Hampshire are great places to go for family fitness. You can always swim together and participate in open gym times to shoot some hoops. At branches including the YMCA in Goffstown and YMCA of Strafford County in Rochester, look for Free Family Fun Nights. These are easy — and economical — opportunities to get moving. Go to www.ymcasofnh.org to find the YMCA near you and its schedule of activities for families.

Togetherness is wonderful, but there are times when it makes sense for adults to take part in separate fitness activities. At The Works Health Club in Somersworth, kids can stay just as active as their parents at Fit Spot, a mini-gym just for kids age 8 to 13 that is equipped with interactive fitness games like the Interactive Light Wall and XBox Kinect; supervised swimming is available for member children, ages 6 and older. And yes, all this means that you now have no excuse for not getting in a workout.

Outdoors

In New Hampshire, outdoor family fitness for many families in January only means one thing – skiing. New to the slopes? Head to McIntyre Ski Area in Manchester and sign up for a group lesson to learn how to downhill ski or snowboard together with your children ages 4 and older. Equipment rentals for all ages are also available.

If you prefer cross-country skiing, Jackson XC in Jackson offers family group lessons, ski rentals, and everything else you need to learn how get a calorie-burning aerobic workout as you kick and glide through the beautiful White Mountains landscape. Lessons are offered several times daily on weekends. Call ahead to let them know you would like a family lesson.

Couch to 5K

And finally, your entire family can go from couch to 5K with the Gate City Striders’ annual Freeze Your Buns 5K, a winter running series for families held in Nashua and hosted by the city’s Gate City Striders running group. January’s 5Ks are planned for Jan. 7 and 21. Races include a special division for kids ages 7 and older.

No matter how you place, it’s the hard work that goes into preparing for a 5K that really matters. As any jogging family can tell you, training side-by-side is an opportunity to gain respect for each family member's abilities and a chance to learn from one another.

And isn’t that a great way to ring in 2018?   

Jacqueline Tourville is a longtime contributor to PNH.

Categories: Mind and Body, Winter Sports

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