Dad and son walking

When I pull out the Yoga mat, I can pretty much guarantee what will happen next.  My daughter will come around the corner and say “I want to do Yoga mommy” and proceed to go into the cutest downward facing dog I have ever seen…right in the middle of my mat.  So, I attempt to do some semblance of a routine around her climbing around me, through me and over me.   It doesn’t matter that I don’t get through a routine…what matters to me is that my kids are seeing that I place an emphasis on taking care of myself.  And, I’m proud to say they get it.  They love to show me how they can flip, roll, jump, race, do push-ups, yoga moves…you name it.  If they see me or my husband doing it, they want to try it.  In the end it is a win-win, we get family time, they burn off energy, I get a workout (albeit a light one) and they learn that being active is not only a priority in our house, but fun too!

Starting family workouts doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to be super organized or structured.  It should be a little spontaneous and entertaining.  Here are some ideas below to get you started on family fun.

1. Go for a Exploration Hike: Hit the trails and start looking for “treasures” (leaves, flowers, rocks, butterflies and if your game…friendly bugs) along the way.  Make sure the kiddos have little bags to collect their goodies!

2. Yard Work Competition: Grab a rake and see who can rake the highest pile of leaves the fastest…and then jump in them!

3. House Olympics: Get creative!  Make exercise stations in and around the house.  The sillier the better!  Low crawl under pillow canals or sheet tents; jumping jacks on the porch; dive into the leaves; roll across the lawn; run laps around the house…first person done gets to pick the family night movie.

4. Bike Ride: Safety first…get those helmets on and enjoy a family bike ride.

5. Video Games!  Yessiree, with the evolution of Wii and Playstation Kinects video games are more interactive than ever.  We work up quite the sweat on some of those adventure course games.

6. Tag, your it!  For a great cardio workout play tag…but without the safe/home zone.

7. Kickball in a Raquetball Court:  Our kids love to go to our gym and play kickball.  A racquetball court is a perfect contained space for little ones to kick the ball around (oh and yell a lot because they love to hear their echo).

8. Fun Run/Walk:  This is just a big win-win all the way around.  You’re helping a great cause, getting exercise and spending family time together.  Make it even more fun…run/walk in teams.  Last team to cross the finish line pays for the frozen yogurt.

9. Dance!  When my daughter hears the radio come on she immediately runs in the living room and starts dancing around.  Approximately a minute later she is grabbing us by the hand to come dance with her.  By the end of 3-4 songs we have all worked up a great sweat.  Add your own twist - have a dance off; see who can create the craziest dance; have them freeze in a pose when the music stops…the options are endless.

10. Play date in the park:  Grab a football/soccer ball/basketball/volleyball/softball/Frisbee and head to the park for a pick up game.  No one there wanting to play…no problem!  Make up your own game…who can dribble the soccer ball the fastest the farthest?  Play keep away….no matter what you pick, just keep moving.

There are other benefits besides exercise.  We find that we unwind, relax and truly enjoy our time with the kids.  And we laugh…a lot!  There is plenty of research to show that laughter is truly great medicine for the mind, body and soul. Not only are you teaching your children by example, but you are also giving them your undivided attention…and that is priceless.  So put on a smile, lace those sneakers, grab the kids and get active!


One comment on “It’s a Family Affair…

  1. Mandy

    You are absolutely right Donna! Kids love to be active, but more importantly they want to be active with others. Simple activities such as a family walk after dinner are simple things to do to benefit the health of the whole family…not to mention allow time for uninterrupted conversation!

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