If you have kids, chances are that life is too hectic to even think about going to the gym most of the time. However, exercise isn’t just important for you, it’s essential for your little ones too. With kids spending more time in front of screens and less time playing in the yard these days, this childhood electronic epidemic is steadily on the rise.
All of this leads to one not-so-obvious conclusion that gets everyone out, active, and fit: exercise together as a family!
Sure, this may be easier said than done between errands, homework, and tantrums. But it’s much easier to incorporate exercise into a regular part of your routine instead of carving out a magical window of time for it that just doesn’t exist.
Here are a few healthy and fun ways to exercise with your kids. Give one of these a try this week and see how it goes!
Go on Walks After Dinner
There’s nothing worse for your metabolism than eating a big meal and then plopping down on the couch for the night to watch TV. Instead of Netflix, suggest a new after-dinner routine that involves getting out in your neighborhood and simply going for a walk. You can explore new neighborhoods and check out other peoples’ yards, and perhaps your kids will meet some new friends playing in their yards along the way.
Throw a Dance Party
There’s never a bad time for a dance party to lighten the mood and lift your spirits. Being a kid and a parent can be hard, especially when challenges and frustrations weigh you down. Instead of dwelling on it, flip on some lively tunes and crank up the stereo. Dancing releases positive endorphins to boost your mood, while getting your bodies moving for a little exercise too.
Adopt a Dog
Kids and dogs go together like peanut butter and jelly, and adopting one pretty much ensures that you’ll be living a more active lifestyle. Dogs need to be walked several times per day and played with in between those walks. Set up a dog walking schedule to take turns with walks, or hit the streets together to enjoy your new furry addition as a family
Sign Up for a Charity Race
Sometimes we all need a little extra motivation to get active, a reason to lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement when we just don’t feel like it. To establish a goal that the whole family can share in, sign up for a local charity race for a cause that you all care about. Regardless of whether the race is less than a mile, a 5K, or longer, the important thing is to have a goal that you’re working towards and a place where you can run or walk together to accomplish that goal.
Divide Up Yardwork Chores
Yardwork isn’t typically on the top of anyone’s “fun list,” but you can make it more fun by turning chores into a game and offering small rewards for a job well done. Turn on some music outside while doing work and divide up chores so that everyone has an important job to do. After an active family day in the yard, treat everyone to some frozen yogurt, a trip to the park for a picnic, or a small prize to show your appreciation.
Schedule Weekly Sport/Game Nights
Another fun way to make use of your backyard is to choose one night per week and designate it as sports night or game night. Take turns letting everyone choose a sport or game to play that night, and anything goes as long as it’s an active idea. Mommy Poppins has some great ideas for exercise games for kids, including everything from jump rope to tickle tag and scavenger hunts.
Go for a Hike or Bike Ride
There are some exercises that aren’t as well-suited towards kids, but hiking and biking are great ones that everyone can get involved with. Head to a local, state, or national park to go for a hike, or make a family vacation out of a longer backpacking trip where you pitch a tent and live tech-free in the wild for a weekend. Whether your kids use tricycles, training wheels, or are already doing tricks on their bikes, cycling is another great active family activity where even the smallest children can ride along in a carrier too.