Exercising as a Family

Staying fit and getting your kids to do the same doesn’t have to be hard or time consuming. There are many ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine while making it fun for your kids.

Exercise goals for families should include:

  1. Make exercise a priority. Everyone is busy. No one has excessive free time. Schedule time for exercise that will not be used to deal with life’s other daily emergencies.
  2. Make exercise a group activity.
  3. Involve friends in exercise. Make peer pressure a force for positive change.

The age of a child is important in predicting which activities will be most appealing. The following are a few tips for elementary school-aged children, approved by Dr. Tod Olin, a pediatric breathing specialist at National Jewish Health.
 

Walking

Take a walk with your kids around the neighborhood or to a park. If you have a dog, bring it along. For younger children, frame a walk in the context of a “scavenger hunt,” “treasure hunt” or “spy mission” (rather than as a “walk”).
 

Tag

While observing safety and the experience of others, parents can play tag (or any other creative name children have for this game). The parent, who can spend most playing time as “it,” can largely determine the pace of the game.
 

Hula Hooping

This is a great exercise to do while listening to music. Just stand in place and swirl the hoop around your waste to strengthen your core. Once you and the kids get really good at it, you can have a hula hooping contest right in your living room.
 

Dancing

Have your very own private dance party. Crank up the music. You might learn some new moves from your kids.
 

Jump Roping

This is a great exercise to get your heart pumping. Use your front or backyard and have a jump rope race. See who can jump rope the fastest while moving forward at the same time to reach the finish line.

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