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:
- 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.
- Make exercise a group activity.
- 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.
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”).
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.
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.
Have your very own private dance party. Crank up the music. You might learn some new moves from your kids.
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.
Here are Other Fun Family Activity Ideas
Cycling to the store, at a park or a local event.
Hiking on a trail or through the zoo!
Racquetball is a great indoor activity to work the heart and lungs.
Running in your neighborhood or in a 5k race.
Skating is a great way to improve balance and general conditioning.
Building snow forts and having a snowball fight is a fun workout!
Strength training at home or at the gym is good for team and body building.
Playing tennis for fun or on a team develops physical and mental conditioning
Yoga at home can help reduce stress and refocus on the day.
Remember to talk with your health care provider before starting new physical activities and to wear appropriate protective gear.