Exercise is often something we think of as an adult endeavor, something we do with friends at the local fitness center. However, spending time with family is a great motivation to get fit, and enjoy each other’s company as you all work toward your fitness goals.
You don’t have to leave the house to get some workout time in. The key is to make it fun and to keep moving, which can burn calories and strengthen bonds. Here are six ways to exercise with the kids involved.
1. Create an Indoor Dance Floor
Moving aside the furniture in the living room, and cranking on some high-energy dance music can set the mood! Want to mimic a real dance floor? Letting your children use a flashlight as “strobe light,” is a fun and inexpensive way to do so.
You can tune into music that your younger ones know the words to, so they can sign along as they dance. There’s no chance of outsiders judging your moves, and you can go freestyle or take a break and watch your youngest ones boogie the day away.
2. Make your Own Fitness Video
Your kids already love watching television and watching their peers on youtube, so why not use that to encourage them to be active? Grab a smartphone and let your kids create an exercise routine. No need to share online, but rather save for family memories! Children grow up fast!
You can let them be silly, the key is that they’re being active and getting their heart pumping. If you have video editing skills, you can edit in upbeat music (or play some while you’re recording the video). Your kids will want to watch it to see their own performance, and it could spark them to keep it going. Make it a series!
3. Make Chores Fun
Let’s all benefit from exercise while getting our house cleaned (win-win!). The trick is to get your kids motivated to want to take on mundane chores in the first place. The key is to make them fun.
Turn chores into a competition (when you have more than one child), and even do a play-by-play announcer voice of their progress whether it’s washing dishes or putting away toys. Skip on monetary prizes, rather give praise or let them pick a family movie to enjoy!
Whether you skip to your own beat or chant a classic jump rope rhyme, jumping rope is a great calorie-burner and a popular childhood activity. Chances are your kids already have jumping ropes, so why not jump with them? If you don’t already have your own, they’re quite inexpensive to buy and available at most sporting good retailers. Did you know that jumping rope has been proven to burn more calories compared to running? It also improves coordination, agility, balance, and footwork. There’s a reason why professional athletes jump rope as part of their training.
So grab your rope and start hoping!
5. Go to a Park
The weather is turning warmer. There’s not many more simpler pleasures than heading to a big open green space to kick the ball around, play catch or chase your kids around (or have them chase you). You’ll get fresh air, and know that your kids are safe in your company.
Being outside will help your children appreciate nature, and you won’t have worry about accidentally knocking over furniture.
6. Create an ‘Exercise Hunt’
Let’s “Hide and Sweat”! Write down 20 different fitness activities (10 push-ups, 10 jumping jacks for example) on 20 pieces of paper and put each one in a plastic egg.
You can then hide the eggs as if it was an Easter egg hunt, and have the kids search them out. When they find one, the entire family performs the activity, not just the children. Putting a time limit on finding the eggs and doing the activities can add to the challenge.
As parents, it is our job to encourage our children to be active. Not only will exercise help them burn excess energy and sleep well, making fitness a part of your child’s life will encourage healthy habits as they grow older. So why sit on the park bench as a spectator while they have all the fun?
When exercise feels like play, the whole family can have fun together! •
For more information contact the Thibodaux Regional Fitness Center, 985.493.4950.