Staying Active Indoors: Family-Friendly Exercises for the Holiday Season

Published December 19, 2023

The holiday season often brings cherished moments with loved ones, delicious meals, and a break from our regular routines. Sometimes exercising becomes a low priority. However, staying active is crucial for our orthopedic health and our overall well-being. When the chilly weather and busy schedules limit outdoor activities, embracing indoor exercises with your family can make fitness fun, interactive, and a bonding experience for everyone.

Family doing yoga

How To Create a Family-Friendly Exercise Routine

Your plan should enable family members of all ages and abilities to have a fun time. Keep a positive attitude, and start with some simple activities that focus on cardio, stretching, and muscle building. Here are some examples:

Warm-Up Activities

Dance Party: Start with a lively dance session to upbeat holiday tunes. Encourage everyone to move freely and have fun. Dancing works out your entire body, and can help you have strong, healthy feet.

Simon Says: Play a game of "Simon Says" with movement-based commands to get everyone warmed up and giggling.

Fun Bodyweight Exercises

Animal Walks: Pretend to be different animals while doing bear crawls, crab walks, or frog jumps across the room.

Obstacle Course: Set up a mini obstacle course using cushions, chairs, and other safe household items. Time each family member to add an element of competition.

Partner or Group Exercises

Wheelbarrow Walks: Pair up family members and take turns holding each other's legs while "walking" on hands across the room.

Group Jumping Jacks: Stand in a circle and do synchronized jumping jacks together.

Yoga and Stretching

Family Yoga: Follow a simple yoga routine together, incorporating poses like downward dog, child's pose, and tree pose. Yoga is beneficial for children and older adults.

Stretching Circle: Sit in a circle and take turns leading stretching exercises, focusing on different muscle groups. Stretching is a very helpful part of therapeutic exercise.

Ready for a more advanced indoor exercise routine? Keep reading!

Adults and teenagers might want a more rigorous exercise routine. Here are some tips for getting a challenging workout without leaving home.


  • Jump Rope: Start with a few minutes of jumping rope to get your heart rate up and warm up your entire body.

  • High Knees: Lift your knees towards your chest while jogging in place to further elevate your heart rate and loosen up your leg muscles.

  • Arm Circles: Stand tall and rotate your arms forward and backward in circular motions to warm up your shoulder joints.


  • Leg Swings: Hold onto a stable surface and swing each leg forward and backward, then side to side, to stretch your hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors.

  • Torso Twists: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and gently twist your torso from side to side, engaging your core and loosening up your spine.

  • Arm Swings: Swing your arms across your body and back, alternating which arm is on top to stretch your chest and shoulders. Learn more about basic stretching.

Bodyweight Exercises:

  • Squats:

    • Standard Squats: Stand with feet hip-width apart, lower down into a squat, keeping your back straight and weight in your heels.

    • Pulse Squats: Perform standard squats but add pulses at the bottom to increase the burn in your quads and glutes.

  • Lunges:

    • Forward Lunges: Step forward into a lunge, keeping your front knee aligned with your ankle, and return to the starting position.

    • Reverse Lunges: Step backward into a lunge, lowering your back knee towards the ground, then return to the starting position.

  • Push-Ups:

    • Standard Push-Ups: Start in a plank position, lower your body by bending your elbows, and push back up.

    • Modified Push-Ups: Perform push-ups with knees on the ground if needed to build strength.

Dumbbells and Kettlebells

  • Dumbbell Exercises:

    • Bicep Curls: Stand with dumbbells in hand, palms facing forward, and curl the weights towards your shoulders.

    • Shoulder Press: Hold dumbbells at shoulder height, palms facing forward, and press them upwards until arms are fully extended.

  • Kettlebell Exercises:

    • Kettlebell Swings: Hold the kettlebell with both hands, hinge at the hips, swing the kettlebell forward and up, using the momentum from your hips.

    • Kettlebell Goblet Squats: Hold the kettlebell close to your chest, squat down, keeping your back straight, and return to the starting position.

Safety First!

The last thing you want is to get injured while working out...particularly during the holiday season. When you're working out with weights, ensure proper technique and start with lighter weights to master form before progressing. Increase the weight gradually to challenge yourself while maintaining control and form. Be sure to always engage your core and maintain stability during exercises involving weights to protect your back and joints. If you feel sore after working out, then be sure to give yourself time to rest.

What are the benefits of being active as a family?

Engaging in activities together fosters a sense of unity and creates lasting memories for the whole family. Children learn by example, and involving them in fitness activities instills the value of an active lifestyle from an early age. Exercise releases endorphins, enhancing mood and reducing stress, especially during the bustling holiday season. Also, staying strong and limber can help reduce orthopedic injuries.

Keep in mind to mix up activities and encourage family members to suggest new exercises, ensuring everyone stays engaged. Focus on participation and effort rather than perfection, fostering a supportive environment for all skill levels. It's important to ensure the space is safe for activities, and to provide guidance on proper form to prevent injuries. Aim for regular family workout sessions to make it a habit and a cherished family tradition.

From everyone at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, we wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!