There are two things that I am constantly trying to do more of. One is finding ways to be more active that don’t suck. The other is finding fun things to do as a family that don’t cost an arm and a leg, like our movie nights. My favorite combined way to complete both of these, and help us be active as a family is to participate in a local 5k race!
There are tons of ways to be active as a family, but participating in a 5k is my favorite for lots of reasons.
We try to do at least one every year. This August, we’re participating in the Hank Aaron State Trail 5k in Milwaukee. We’ve done this one before, but I always keep my eyes open for new and interesting 5ks that might pop up.
Why is a 5k the best way to be active as a family?
I’m all about accomplishing multiple goals at once. Call it life multi-tasking. With a 5k, I’m able to check several boxes of “things that are important to me.”
5k’s make a great family time activity.
When you participate in a 5k as a family, there is a LOT of family time built in.
At the bare minimum, you have 45 minutes to walk and talk during the event. Then there is the time driving to the event, waiting before it begins, the “post party” that most 5k’s have, and the drive home.
Because you’re out in nature, usually in an area you don’t frequent, there are lots of things that pop up to talk about that otherwise wouldn’t.
We notice interesting buildings, cool looking parks, new businesses, unique flowers and plants, and all sorts of things. These all spark conversation.
Additionally, if you decide to train together to run instead of walk, or go for PRs (personal records), then there is all of the training time leading up to the event. You might not spend as much of this together if you’re really training hard, but you can go out together, and recuperate after everyone is done.
5k’s are a great way to get in some physical activity.
3.1 miles may not be a lot to someone who runs marathons, but it is still a lot! Having a desk job, there are some days I don’t even reach 10,000 steps a day. 3.1 miles in one shot is huge.
It’s still a small enough amount, however, that people who are not regularly exercising can still do it. It might take a little longer, but that’s okay. Kids and adults alike can both manage. And if you have a younger child who may not make it the whole way (like I do), most 5k run/walks are very family-friendly and are okay with strollers or wagons. Just double-check the rules first.
Another great thing about 5k’s is that because unless you’re running to really race and win, there’s a nice social aspect. Hence why it’s a great family quality time activity. But this also means it doesn’t feel like exercise!
It doesn’t feel like something I’m forcing myself to do because “I should” or because “I know it’s good for me.” I’m simply doing it because it’s fun. The healthy physical activity part of it (ie, the exercise) is just part of it.
Speaking of physical activity, the fact that this is so much physical activity, unlike a little walk around the block, is that it will really wear kids out. I don’t need to tell you that burning off some toddler and preschooler energy is a huge win.
5k’s are a great way to teach about charity.
Most 5k’s are affiliated with a charity of some kind. Even the ones that are pretty much purely fun, like The Color Run, still have some sort of charitable component. The last time The Color Run was in my hometown, the profits went to our local tourism center.
You can turn a fun 5k into a way to teach kids about charity. A 5k is one way that we can help give back to our community, a specific group, or a cause we believe in. It’s never too early for kids to learn about helping others. And it’s great to show them that there is more than one way to help!
I’ve participated in Special Olympics, AIDS, and local community benefiting 5k’s. There are walks that benefit animal shelters, law enforcement, homeless shelters, foster kids, diseases and almost any other cause you can think of. If there is something, or someplace, that you’re really passionate about, this is one great way to contribute.
5k’s Around the U.S.
5k’s can be found in cities and states across the country. There are lots of ways to find out about ones that may be happening near you.
Websites run by local tourism centers usually have an event page that list races.
Coffee shops and other local venues often have a community bulletin board where location-specific (non nationwide) events can be posted.
Colleges and libraries also usually have a community board of some kind where people can post information about events.
Here are a few online resources where you can find information about nationwide 5k’s as well as some local, location-specific ones.
Run Guides: This is focused on running, but many of the 5k’s that are for running also have a walking option if you’re just looking for a fun way to be active as a family and aren’t concerned about the racing portion.
Active.com: This lists not only races but other fun activities as well for some other ideas on ways to be active as a family.
Here are a few I think you’ll love!
The runs listed below may or may not be in your area. Some of them vary year to year. They also may or may not be for charitable causes. For fun runs like these, you often have to view the specific websites of your local event or reach out to the local organizers to determine, what, if anything, the profits benefit. Some are purely just for fun and tourism and the fees cover the cost of the event.
- The Color Run
- Bubble Run
- The Electric Run
- The Zombie Mud Run (for those looking for a little more running, and chaos)
- Insane Inflatable 5K
5k’s…the most fun and generous way to be active as a family!
It’s so important to be active as a family. It fosters togetherness, is good for your health, and can be just plain fun. Many can also aid in teaching kids the importance of charity.
It’s a great way to spend time together and work toward a common goal. It’s also great physical activity for the whole family. And if you choose an event tied to something you want to support, it’s a great way to give back. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of life multi-tasking and I’m loving it.
That’s why a 5k is such a perfect family activity!