In the quest to nurture a healthier next generation, the influence of family cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to instilling a positive attitude towards exercise among children. A seminal study, “Active 1 + FUN“, underscores this connection, revealing the potent impact of family-based strategies in promoting physical activity in children. This article aims to dissect the findings of this pivotal research, juxtapose it with complementary studies, and translate these insights into actionable guidance for fitness professionals to assist parents in cultivating a conducive exercise environment for their offspring.

Study Overview

Conducted by researchers and published in BioMed Central, the “Active 1 + FUN” intervention was designed to explore the efficacy of family-influenced approaches in elevating children’s activity levels. The study employed a comprehensive methodology, enrolling families into a programme that provided resources, educational materials, and activities aimed at integrating physical activity into daily family life. Through workshops, interactive sessions, and home-based exercises, the intervention sought to empower parents as the primary influencers of their children’s physical activity habits.

Key Findings and Analysis

The results were illuminating. Participating families reported a notable uptick in both the frequency and enthusiasm for physical activities. Children showed increased engagement in exercise, with a marked improvement in their overall physical fitness. Crucially, the study highlighted the symbiotic relationship between parents’ attitudes towards exercise and their children’s activity levels, demonstrating that parental involvement is a critical lever in promoting a healthy lifestyle among the youth.

This research echoes findings from other studies, such as the World Health Organisation’s report on global adolescent activity levels, which stress the importance of early intervention and family engagement in reversing the trends of physical inactivity among children.

Implications for Fitness Professionals

For fitness professionals, these insights serve as a clarion call to actively involve parents in the fitness journey of their children. Beyond merely prescribing exercises, there is a golden opportunity to educate and equip parents with the tools and knowledge to be role models in leading an active lifestyle. This involves crafting family-friendly fitness programmes, organising workshops that emphasise the benefits of joint parent-child exercise sessions, and offering guidance on how to make physical activity a cornerstone of family life.

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A Periodised Exercise Programme for Families

To translate theory into practice, here is a detailed, periodised 12-week exercise programme designed for parents to engage their children in physical activity, fostering a positive attitude towards exercise:

  • Weeks 1-4: Foundation Building
    • Focus: Introduction to basic movements and establishing routine.
    • Activities: Family walks, bike rides, swimming sessions twice a week.
    • Goal: Cultivate enjoyment and routine without emphasising intensity.
  • Weeks 5-8: Skill Development
    • Focus: Enhancing coordination and agility.
    • Activities: Simple sports (e.g., soccer, basketball) in the backyard, dance sessions, basic bodyweight exercises (squats, lunges) with fun challenges.
    • Goal: Develop physical skills and introduce moderate challenges.
  • Weeks 9-12: Activity Integration
    • Focus: Incorporating physical activity into daily life.
    • Activities: Adventure walks, family fitness challenges, participation in community sports.
    • Goal: Establish physical activity as a regular, enjoyable part of family life.

The “Active 1 + FUN” study, along with corroborating research, highlights the indispensable role of the family in shaping a child’s attitude towards exercise. For fitness professionals, this underscores the importance of involving parents in the design and implementation of exercise programmes for children. By fostering a collaborative approach, fitness experts can empower families to lay the groundwork for a lifetime of health and wellness for their children.


Ha, A.S., Ng, J.Y.Y., Lonsdale, C. et al. Promoting physical activity in children through family-based intervention: protocol of the “Active 1 + FUN” randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health 19, 218 (2019). Click here to review the full research article

Inspire a Healthy Future as a Children’s Fitness Instructor

Inspire a healthier future by training as a Children’s Fitness Instructor. Our course, aligned with the principles of the “Active 1 + FUN” study, empowers you to craft engaging fitness programmes that foster group involvement and elevate children’s activity levels. Learn to develop exercise routines children enjoy together, creating a lasting foundation for physical health and a love for activity. Get certified and become an advocate for active lifestyles. Start your rewarding journey here.

Exercise for Children – Distance Study

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