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Try a fun workout with Olympic Rower and Vitality Performance Champion Alex Gregory MBE. Read and watch on as the author and father of three, gets inspired by sports and fitness trends from all over the globe

By Rosalind Ryan
Read time: 4 min Watch time: 30 min

We all talk about wanting to spend more time with our family, and I especially enjoy getting active with my kids Jasper and Daisy. Like lots of families, being at home more over lockdown gave me the opportunity to do that. We already do lots of things to keep us physically fit, but even we have spent more time getting active together! We like to head out for bike rides, go on treasure hunts and climb trees. Training used to be something I did on my own. Now, after I’ve been for a jog every morning, my kids will come to find me working out in the barn at home and they get involved too. I normally use weights to work out, but these days I might end up lifting my daughter Daisy, 6, above my head ten times instead (it’s more fun for both of us!).

Alex and kids get inspired in the garden with workout moves from around the world

Doing any kind of physical activity as a family gives you a chance to make memories, and spending time outside as a family is also crucially important to us. Some of my strongest childhood memories involve outdoors activities, so I wanted the same for my kids. That’s why I wrote my book, Dadventures (HarperCollins); I want to inspire parents to get outdoors with their children. A child remembers spending direct time with their family, even if it’s just playing in the park together for 5 minutes. A small amount of time can make a big difference. I also love the idea of a workout that families can do together and have fun while they get fit. So, we made one! Watch our video below and get the kids involved.

Alex, Jasper and Daisy tackle some caveman walks

‘We’ve put together the below workout alongside Vitality Clinician Jonathan Kibble. To make things interesting, the moves are inspired by sports and fitness from around the world, including Tabata, ‘caveman’-style training and parkour. No equipment is required – all you need is a friend or family member – and you can do the workout indoors or outside in the sunshine. Watch now and enjoy an exercise session with the family. No kids? No worries – this workout is great for all ages.

Talk to your GP if you’re starting a new fitness regime and make sure you do the warm-up instructions and follow the safety notes.

Watch the 30 minute workout with Alex Gregory below now (no equipment required)

Taking family fitness around the world with Alex Gregory

Take a fitness trip:
I’ve been inspired by 6 workouts from around the world, explore them below to learn more
Meet the Experts
Jonathan Kibble

Jonathan Kibble works as a Vitality Clinician doing health checks, and running Vitality physical activity workshops to help educate and inspire people to lead a healthier, happier life. He has trained all sorts of people, from international rugby players to professional ballerinas.

Working on your family fitness levels?
As a Vitality member you could get up to 40% off a range of Garmin and Garmin kids’ fitness trackers. Available with eligible health insurance, life insurance and investments plans (postage and packaging cost applies). If you’re already a Vitality member, you can sign up directly in Member Zone.
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Capoeira
Brazil
What is it?
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art combining dance, self-defence, music and gymnastics. It isn’t only a workout; it’s an art form. True capoeiristas learn all about the different strands of the culture, including its unique music.
Why do it?
It’s becoming more popular as more of us want a varied fitness routine rather than following one type of exercise. Capoeira involves the whole body, builds flexibility and agility – think of those wide, sweeping leg movements – improves your balance and is incredibly social. Accompanied by music and singing, it’s ‘played’ in a circle called a roda.
Where can I try it?
Visit capoeiraclub for some online options. Some classes are for all ages, so you can practise as a family, but others may be adults only.
How can my family get inspired?
Listen to some traditional capoeira music, which is integral to the practice.
Who knew?
Capoeira was granted Intangible Cultural Heritage status by UNESCO in 2014.
Alex says
Capoeira is so cool and best done to a thumping Latin American soundtrack, you can find lots of inspiration on YouTube.
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Parkour
France
What is it?
You’ve probably seen the videos where people leap between buildings or spring over walls – that’s parkour. It comes from the French word parcours, which means ‘the route’ or ‘way through’. Beginners start out at their own pace with a safer version of it, jumping over different objects on the ground
Why do it?
It develops your strength, coordination, balance, confidence and all-round fitness, and is a great workout for the mind too – the aim is to get from one point to another in the most efficient way, so you need to plan the fastest (and safest) route possible, using any obstacles in your way.
Where can I try it?
Sign up for online classes from parkourgenerations
How can my family get inspired?
Jumping around and onto objects isn’t for everyone, but using the approach as inspiration for some group exercise can make things interesting – and you can adapt it to suit your family. Running, climbing and swinging are great elements to include. Why not create an obstacle course for the kids (both big and small) in your garden?
Alex says
I love parkour. We create our own circuits in the back garden, climbing trees and jumping on and off walls. It builds strength and endurance, and it’s great fun.
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Caveman-style training
USA
What is it?
Training ‘like a caveman’ – also called paleo-style training – is popular in the US and involves strength and cardio exercises. But, rather than lifting barbells or running on a treadmill, you sprint, push, squat, lift, throw, punch and more, in the way our bodies have evolved to move. As caveman diets are booming in popularity, primal fitness was never going to be far behind.
Why do it?
Paleo-style fitness is thought to protect against injuries from overusing one muscle group, while the real-life movements build natural strength and fitness. Some moves, like flipping tyres, can be great stress-busters, too.
Where can I try it?
Look for the Functional Training Zones at your local David Lloyd club. Try creating your own paleo-inspired circuit in the garden or a local park with logs to lift, hills to run, and trees to climb.
How can my family get inspired?
You can make this style of workout your own and adapt it to any age. Set each other fun challenges and exercise in a group or in pairs.
Alex says
I’m totally into this kind of fitness. Every day I jog down to a small beach near us and lift rocks, or we’ll go there for a walk and end up moving rocks to build dens together.
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Tabata
Japan
What is it?
Tabata is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Based on a study* by Professor Izumi Tabata and his team, it involves 4 minutes of intense exercise: 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds rest, repeated eight times. Tabata is super-popular thanks to its incredible fat-burning abilities.

*https://www.researchgate.net/publication/332537135_Tabata_training_one_of_the_most_energetically_effective_high-intensity_intermittent_training_methods

Why do it?
It’s quick and effective. The short sessions fit easily into a busy schedule. You don’t need loads of equipment; bodyweight exercises, like squats, rule.
Where can I try it?
Check out Virgin Active’s Grid Lean classes which include the Tabata principle. You can also download the Tabata Stopwatch Pro app and create your own workout at home.
How can my family get inspired?
Choose your favourite exercises and make up your own child-friendly routines – you can also try easier HIIT-style workouts with longer (family friendly) rest periods.
Who knew?
Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, has been popular in Japan for decades. Research suggests phytoncides – calming essential oils that are released by trees – can help relieve stress, while you spend some time strolling mindfully through the woodland.
Alex says
Tabata workouts are short and sweet. You might already be doing them without realising.
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Barre-style exercises
UK
What is it?
Barre fitness is a ballet-inspired workout that combines pilates, yoga, cardio, strength training and traditional barre work. The trend has slowly gone mainstream and many gyms now offer a barre class.
Why do it?
With a focus on the lower body and core, the goal is to build strength and flexibility, and get yourself the long, lean limbs of a ballet dancer. Classes differ but most rely on small movements and high repetitions to isolate and work deep into individual muscle groups. The ‘barre burn’ is a real thing!
Where can I try it?
Check out your local Nuffield Health gym for BarreConcept classes.
How can my family get inspired?
Try some simple moves to build strength and flexibility, such as plié-style squats. You don’t need an actual barre to have a go (you can hold the back of a chair for balance, if that helps).
Who knew?
Barre is thought to have originated in the 1950s, when the German ballerina Lotte Berk combined exercises for the stomach and back with ballet routines.
Acro-yoga
Denmark
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What is it?
Acro-yoga is a type of yoga that involves working with a partner to achieve deeper stretches and the type of acrobatic poses you can see all over Instagram. While its roots are in India, it is thought to have started in Canada but it’s increasingly popular in Denmark, which is no surprise as a Dane, Franz Nachtegall, founded what’s believed to be the first private gym.
Why do it?
Apart from the usual health benefits of yoga – strength, flexibility and balance – acro-yogis say it builds your confidence, communication skills and trust, as you’re working with a partner. It means it’s fun to practise as a family.
Where can I try it?
Search for classes near you – your local yoga studio may be able to help – or try circus skills lessons.
How can my family get inspired?
Look out for kids’ yoga or acrobatics classes (these may need to be online, depending on social distancing rules) to help children learn the basics and find out how to move their body safely.
Did you know…
Denmark consistently ranks in the top three happiest countries in the world. Is it the community spirit, hygge, or all their delicious beer?
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