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4 Fun Ways to Exercise (and Play) with Kids

By Rachel Larkey from AroundthePlate.org

Believe it or not, it is recommended that a healthy adult get 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. This can range from household chores to hitting that cycling class you’ve always wondered about. For your children, at least 60 minutes of activity a day is needed. Luckily for all of the busy moms and dads out there, exercising with your kids can be a fun way to share family time while getting fit! Working out with your kids can also be a fun way to teach them the value of physical activity and to lead by example. Here are four ways to be physically active with your kids:

Dance!

Small children LOVE to dance, regardless of the music choice. Take this opportunity to dance with them! It doesn’t matter if you look silly because you will both be having fun, and dancing is a great way to burn calories. Make sure that while you bust a move you keep your core braced by pulling the belly button in towards the spine. For toning, try to incorporate moves which twist the midsection back and forth. For cardio, try keeping the arms above the head to get the heart pumping.  

Try a family-friendly 5k

Even a non-runner will be inspired by a race that’s fun for the whole family! Races such as The Color Run welcome families of all sizes to join in a day of silliness and colored powder. The best part? These races are usually for a good cause. An event like this will be exciting for your kids and will inspire them not only to be active but to donate and give back to the community. Try walking and jogging with your kids, or pushing a stroller while you do your own thing.

Play a video game

This one may seem counter-intuitive, but with the sophistication of consoles like the Wii, family game night can be a new source of exercise. Wii Fit games are designed to exercise the whole body. Wii bowling and tennis require a considerable amount of movement and your kids will see it as nothing more than a fun night of video games! While this option can be fun, it’s important to remember that spending too much time in front of a screen can be harmful, so try to limit this activity to a “once-in-a-while” sort of treat.

Family Olympics

If you have a large enough family, or simply need a way to inspire your kids to become more active, a family Olympics could be the way to go. Set aside an afternoon and plan fun events to do outside with your family. Relay races, short sprints, or even a scavenger hunt can be a fun way to get everyone moving. Small, non-edible prizes will reward the pleasure centers of the brain without making the association to food, which will help curb the habit of rewarding yourself (or your kids) with treats.

Unleashing your inner child or involving your kids in your grown-up workout can be a great way to teach your children about the importance of exercise while also having fun and getting your much needed quota of physical activity! There are so many ways to include kids in exercise, whether it’s with new technology or simply going outdoors and running around.  Happy exercising!

Also Read:

Schedule a Family Play Night

Candy-Free Potty Training

5 Non-Traditional Workouts

October 2nd, 2012

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