Family Fitness: More than Fun

Working out with your kids is a good lifestyle example.
Energy Pilates Fitness & Yoga instructor Jenny Rodriguez (far left) leads a class for the Reder family: Lynden, Kilen, Britta and Elsie.

Kids learn best by example. If you’re tired of telling your children to go outside to play (without you or them getting up from the couch), you might want to consider these Woodbury-based family fitness activities.

At the Woodbury YMCA, families with a membership and children as young as 7 can work out together in the fitness center—as long as family members are in attendance and the kids have gone through a specific family-workout orientation, says Y director of healthy living Pauline Alba. At age 10, Alba adds, children can do a second orientation that “takes their participation up another notch,” and can also join family members in most group exercise classes and use equipment unsupervised. A popular summer activity, says Alba, is Family Boot Camp, which often involves parents and grandparents working out right alongside kids. The Y is also partnering with CycleHealth to sponsor a wellness challenge for each season. The next event, on October 28, is the Resilinator, “a kid + kid (ages 7-17) or kid + adult buddy race to discover your toughness & grit.” Mud is involved, says Alba. (See for details.)

Woodbury Parks and Rec recreation manager Reed Smidt cites two upcoming family fitness events. The first is Woodbury Thrives’ Ride, Stride or Glide, officially sponsored by Woodbury Thrives, for whom Woodbury Parks and Rec is a supporting partner. The date is August 18, from 8 a.m. to noon. Starting at Colby Lake Park, families can opt for a 5K or 1-mile walk, run or glide, or choose a 10-mile bike ride. Cost is $4-$8 for youth or $18-$20 for a family of three or more.

And a family adventure bike ride is scheduled for October 6 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Edgewater Park. The activity is recommended for families with children ages 6-14, and the cost is $20 per family. Smidt says, “Families will be given a printed map of an approximate 6-mile course of trails to bike along that will take them to specific park areas. A fun challenge will await families at each designated park area. Participants receive a sticker at each challenge area to show the completed the task. Bike ride will conclude with treats and beverages.”

Debra Tourek owns Energy Pilates Fitness & Yoga and has been in the business of personal training and group fitness for 33 years. She has several families in yoga and group fitness classes; in fact, she says, “In one yoga class we had six mother-daughter pairs. That rocks my world.” It is especially important, says Tourek, for adolescents to understand that movement, even high-level athletic movement, is about full-body awareness as much as brute strength. Too many kids associate exercise with punishment. “[Fitness is] not about beating up your body,” she says. Instead, she notes that many families sign up for small-group private training at her studio. In a recent session, she had “a mother and father and their two kids, 4 and 6 years old. I encourage functional fitness, just moving your body. I just want people to remember that movement is fun.”  

Woodbury Conquer Ninja Gym manager Alex Jurgenson has two fitness options for your American Ninja Warrior-loving family:

Open gym, ages 5 and up. Staff review equipment (including warped walls, quintuple steps and salmon ladders), which families are then free to use as they wish.

Sunday morning classes, all ages. In this structured class environment, an instructor sets up specific courses and challenges.