Family Fitness Project

A Family Fitness Project

January 2019

By Rebecca Unger, M.D.

A Few Family Fitness Facts

Fact 1. Guidelines from Healthy People 2020 state that physical activity improves health in all age groups by: improving bone health, improving cardio respiratory fitness, decreasing obesity, decreasing depression, increasing attention and improving cognitive skills.


Fact 2. Encouraging children to be active increases the likelihood they will grow up to value an active healthy living lifestyle.


So…. it is time (actually it is always time!) to be active as a family. Incorporating physical activity into your daily lifestyle helps make it happen.


Here are some ideas that have very few “obstacles”.


Check out these indoor/outdoor obstacle courses:

Where:  Out your front door and/or in your home

When: Morning, afternoon, evening, study break time

How: Put on your sneakers and do it

Who: Anyone and everyone



Ellingson, et al. Changes in sedentary time are associated with changes in mental wellbeing over 1year in young adults. Prev Med Rep. 2018 Sep; 11: 274–281


Illustration by Emily Fishman


An outdoor obstacle course


  1. Step out of your front door…. your first step!!
  2. Stretch high to the sky, touch down towards your toes 2x
  3. Find the 3rd closest tree and run around it 3 times
  4. Lunge 4x in one direction and 4x back
  5. Do 5 push ups against a tree, fence or bench
  6. Jump up and down 6x and/or do Jumping Jacks 6x
  7. March with a high step 7x in one direction and 7x back
  8. Sidestep 8x in one direction and 8x back again
  9. Bend both knees or do squats 9x


And then…skip back home!

An indoor obstacle course

  1. Big arm circles – 10 x in each direction
  2. Knee bends or squats, with feet apart and hands behind head  – 10x
  3. Jumping jacks – 10-20x
  4. Bicep curls with food cans in each hand – 10x
  5. Straight arm lifts from side to a T position with soup cans – 10 x
  6. Plank (or “push up” position) – hold x 10-20 seconds
  7. Lunges from room to room and back again – 10x each direction
  8. Side leg lifts (with a straight leg) on each side while lying on the floor or standing, 10-20x each side
  9. Side shuffle, 5 paces to the right, and 5 paces back to the left – 10x each direction
  10. Jump rope or jog in place – for 1 minute
  11. On hands and knees reach out with straight right arm and left leg, repeat on other side – hold for 10-20 seconds each side
  12. Lie on back, twist legs to right, repeat to left, take several deep breaths on each side


A few other helpful websites:

Physical activity for young children:


Physical activity for teens:


Physical activity for health:


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