10 Cheap or Free Ways to Get the Entire Family in Shape


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Summer is just around the corner, which means it's the perfect time to get the family in shape. Fun activities that get everyone moving can be easy to find but often expensive. Try these low-cost (or free) family-friendly activities instead to boost everyone's energy, bond as a family, and get fit at the same time.


Yoga classes are not always cheap, and multiplying the cost for each family member really adds up. It's far cheaper to do yoga at home. Find full family yoga classes for free on YouTube -- it's easy to choose one that works best for the family and customize it for the most benefit and fun.

Related: 6 Ways to Find Free and Cheap Yoga Classes


Jogging and running are excellent cardiovascular exercise, and building a regular running habit with the family can help everyone get into shape. Choose routes that consider every family member's needs and, above all, let the kids set the pace. According to the Road Runners Club of America, prepubescent kids should avoid excessive running of longer than 60 minutes.


Families that live near walking paths, river bluffs, hills, or mountains can take regular hikes. They can be as casual as a stroll through a hilly neighborhood or as serious as a rugged climb that requires planning and packing provisions. Routes can be customized to the smallest family members for a quality workout for everyone.


Not all volunteer work involves physical exertion, but there are plenty of choices that will leave the family worn out and sweaty. Sign up for a hiking trail cleanup, help build a home for a needy family, or offer to help a local food bank do some heavy lifting. This way, a family can give back to the community while getting in a quality workout.

Related: 11 Ways to Get in Shape While Doing Good


Once summer ramps up, there will likely be opportunities to pick produce at a nearby pick-your-own farm. Tramping through a field and gathering strawberries, reaching up into a tree to pick peaches, or bending over and plucking beans off a stalk not only gets family members moving but provides nutritious foods to enjoy later.


Families can hop on trains or other transport to get around many zoos, but why ride when you can get some exercise? Zoo admission prices vary, but many are affordable. If visiting often is the plan, get a family membership -- the Kansas City Zoo, for example, provides admission for two adults and all children for $99 a year, which can pay for itself with just a couple of visits (and memberships may be tax-deductible). Some zoos have free admission, even in big cities such as Chicago and St. Louis.


Think up a challenge each week to see who in the family can shoot the most baskets, run around the yard the fastest, or do the most jumping jacks. Alternating the events will keep family members from getting bored. If sibling rivalry gets too fierce, change up the nature of the competition -- instead of winner-take-all, for example, set different goals for the kids depending on their age.


Take the family to the rink, whether for rollerskating or ice skating, depending on the season. Many public skating sessions cost $5 a person or less for a few hours. The kids may skate circles around adults who haven't set foot in a rink since grade school, but this is a fun way for everyone to be active while bonding as a group.


While gardening may seem like a peaceful activity, caring for a lawn and garden can be a good workout. From mowing and watering to pruning and weeding, lawn care has the potential to burn quite a few calories, according to CalorieLab. Warm weather can take a toll on landscapes, so tackle lawn care as a team to get the greens into tip-top shape along with its keepers.


It's no surprise housework helps keep people active, but it can be a real drag -- and children know it. To help motivate the whole clan, incorporate music into the cleaning routine. Choose silly songs, heavy metal, or ska -- anything that makes kids want to move. Experts at Psych Central suggest that parents' participation encourages kids to clean more effectively than ordering them to do it from the couch. So put on dancing shoes and dive in.