Get Fit Together

Meet your fitness goals by making it a family affair

By Jennifer Sheran, publisher Macaroni Kid McDonough, Stockbridge, Hampton, Locust Grove January 5, 2022

It is the start of the New Year and that means a lot of us have new resolve to get fit or level up our activity. Trying to balance our responsibilities with family and work often leaves very little time for exercise. I am no different. Exercise is the first thing to come off my to do list when I have too many balls to juggle (which is most of the time). But after packing on pandemic pounds, watching my mom work to recover from a stroke, and seeing my dad with COPD struggle to breathe, I know exercise is not a luxury but a necessity for my health and quality of life. 

I figured the only way I can consistently find time for physical activity is to plan it as a family activity. I talked with Jemerris Giles, owner of Gym 55 In Hampton, Georgia, about how to begin and how to get the family involved. He suggested that we look at Health and Wellness as a journey and track progress as you go. 

“It’s not all about going to the gym or even getting a trainer,” said Jemerris. “Start with brisk walks and getting more active in your own home and then start adding classes such as Yoga or Step to spice up your journey.” 

If you can carve out 10 -15 minutes during the day for a short walk, workout or yoga session and then do a family activity in the evening, you will begin to feel better and see results. Plus giving yourself just a few minutes to exercise during the day will help you gain stamina and release stress. Even 15 minutes can make a difference in your overall health. 

I work from my home office, so I am building the habit of taking a short walk (in the neighborhood or on the treadmill) after the kids go to school and before I begin my workday. On evenings when it is not too chilly, you’ll find my family in our yard playing horse with the basketball or doing some batting practice. Or we are inside playing chase or having a dance battle. We laugh and tease each other and spend some quality time to cap off the day. Exercise is really a side benefit. What’s most important is we are building habits and creating special memories. 

Ten Ways to Get Active as a Family 

  1. Take daily family walks or bike rides in the neighborhood 
  2. Incorporate monthly family hiking/walking trail outings and visit one of these eight great trails in Henry county. Try out one of the weekly or monthly group hikes at the beautiful Panola Mountain.
  3. Play a family game of HORSE basketball Kick the soccer ball together in the yard, practice drills and work on footwork 
  4. Make an obstacle course and time each person for friendly competition 
  5. Play Just Dance on Nintendo Switch. Or put on some Kids Bop on YouTube and dance along with a weekly or daily dance party 
  6. Set up a volleyball court in the yard or play pickle in the driveway 
  7. Visit indoor trampoline parks like Urban Air and SkyZone and participate as a family 
  8. Do a 5K walk or run as a family 

“Keep Things Interesting,” says Jemerris. “The more your family has to choose from, the less you will get bored and will actually love the idea of going out to be active.” 

Benefits of daily exercise: 

  • Feel more relaxed Increase your mental clarity 
  • Move easier 
  • Change your mood and attitude 
  • Family togetherness that is screen free 
  • Get better sleep 
  • Improve your quality of life 

Jemeris cautions the journey isn’t all about exercise. “Learning about healthy eating, portion control and to stop when satisfied is crucial to making fitness gains,” he said. 

-- Jemerris Giles, also known as “Jay the Goat”, is a Certified Master Trainer and the Owner and Founder of Gym 55 in Hampton, Georgia. He also has a Doctorate Degree from Reinhardt University in Physical Science. Gym 55 offers a variety of services including group and 1-1 kid and adult fitness training, sports training, yoga, and boxing. You can reach him at