Every party-planner has a lot of pull. You’re gathering a group and basically telling them what to do and consume! So before you host your end-of-summer soiree or back-to-school blast, think about how you can host a “fit party,” even if that part is essentially under-the-radar.
Sure, you could organize a run, lead a workout, or bring in a fitness expert—but those are all really obvious, and possibly intimidating. The trick for the average gathering is to simply increase the activity level and lower calorie intake without people noticing. Make the event so fun that burning calories is a surprising bonus!
First of all: Set one. A party theme is key for ultimate frivolity, and easiest to illustrate via a dress code. Superheroes, Olympic nations, decades dress or innumerable other fun options sure set the tone better than a wear-whatever scenario. It also can help you broach the idea of casual activities and proper footwear. Ant Man needs to be mentally prepared and fully equipped for the epic Ping Pong Championship!
People remember creativity more than sugar level. Set a cuisine focus like you normally would (grill fest, Fiesta, things on a stick?), but run with it in a healthier way. Many recipes have healthy hack versions, or you can come up with your own by focusing on fresh ingredients and alternatives. Or skip the extra research and grab a specialty cocktail and other recipes right off our Delicious Drinks, Healthier Desserts, Healthy Snacks, and general Healthy Recipes Pinterest boards. Remember: Presentation goes a long way. Find fun napkins and serving dishes, and take some extra time for arranging and accenting, à la Food Network shows.
Forget the couch and patio lounging—get people on their feet! Organization is key for this one, since it’s natural to stay stagnant and chat. Incorporating teamwork, competition, prizes, and putting people on the spot (talent show, anyone?!) are great ways to encourage movement. As are too few chairs! (Kidding, sort of.) Some ideas for all seasons:
- Make your own obstacle course. Under, over, around, and through the hoop, just be creative!
- Set up yard games like bags and ladders, and keep people moving with an official bracket.
- Water balloons, water fights, slip n’ slides, and sprinklers are all great for kids or the young at heart.
- As are kick-the-can, dark tag, and other running or hide-and-seek games, depending on the time.
- Burn even more through sports like croquet, soccer or volleyball, depending on fitness levels.
- Play Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero/Rock Band, or other video games that require movement.
- Host your own dance party with a DJ, pre-selected hits plugged in or a karaoke machine.
- Hold head-to-head contests for the longest plank hold, most push-ups, best sit-and-reach, etc.
- Interact with the kids! Just think of the steps, lifting, and bending involved in normal interaction.
Prizes & Party Favors
Let’s be honest: People love to be recognized and rewarded! Even if the prize in totally nominal. Consider a prize table to choose from for those who reign victorious, or gift each attendee something fun on the way out the door. Just make sure to continue your theme and encourage activity by skipping the treats and focusing on health and interaction (Water bottle? Colorful headband? Frisbee?). If you’re feeling especially generous, pick a name out of a hat at the end of the event or have the group compete for a pedometer or other fun piece of equipment (think activity mat, kettlebell, etc). It’s a fun way to spread fit forward!