Finding time to exercise as a family can be tough when it means trying to align four separate calendars, work and after-school activities, but for the Kendall family the effort has been more than worthwhile.
Parents Tamara and Michael signed up for an exercise program, run by former Olympian Felicity Lemke, with their children, Emily, 13, and Lana, 10, as part of a push to make sure their girls were on a path towards healthy living.
"The kids have their own things they do. Just trying to find something that you can get in and do with the kids, that was the main aim of it, really. Because the kids go off and do their own exercise but you want to try and do it with them," Mrs Kendall said.
Mr Kendall said it had been positive exercise together and combine Lana's competitiveness with Emily's preference to have fun. "I liked to beat Dad," Lana said.
The Kendalls' positive experience is reflected in the findings of a new Australian research project which found children who exercise as part of a family unit form a unique partnership with their parents and receive emotional support that extends beyond the simple health benefits of physical activity.
Charles Sturt University research fellow Dr Kate Freire said children formed strong emotional bonds to activity done as a family, and got non-verbal messages they were being looked after and loved.
"Doing physical activity together gives children the non-verbal message of, 'I'm being looked after by my parents. I'm being cared for by my parents, because they're doing something healthy with me, so they're showing that they love me'," Dr Freire said.
The research also showed children's experiences with being active with their parents was very different to the experiences shared with peers and siblings.
"Doing physical activity with their parents was a completely different experience to doing it with their friends or their team members, and they were very focused on trying to get practice sessions with their parents in the garden ... because it was considered a very different environment to practise in, and an environment they could actually experiment with their skills," she said.
Dr Freire said it was important for parents to listen to what kind of activity their children enjoyed.
"Often adapting to that cross-generational context can be difficult. Mostly the way a lot of families handled it was to either slow down or speed up [activities], and that works well in some cases, but there's also room for getting creative," she said.
Although social distancing requirements meant the ACT government-supported exercise program was cut short, the Kendalls are still making sure they stay active together.
"Putting the computers down and the phones down, or something like that, it just gives us a break and some time together, it's a bit more important [at the moment]," Mr Kendall said.