Written by: Daniel Sherwin
We tend to think of exercise as something that requires regimented planning and a strict schedule. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. Especially when you have kids, you have a unique opportunity to engage in fun, family-friendly fitness activities throughout the year. Here are six ideas, courtesy of Balancing Life & Kids' Coaching Center.
Walk the Dog
Do you have a family pet already? Great, then your children have access to a great activity the entire family will enjoy. Not only does walking the dog give them an opportunity to for the neighborhood, but you can burn hundreds of calories during an hour at a leisurely pace. Do keep in mind here, however, that children under five years of age should never be left to their own devices when walking the dog, according to the Doggos blog. Also, to keep your dog safe, take advantage of this comfortable but escape-proof harness.
Make Cleaning a Game
Cleaning burns calories as well, but there is a more practical reason to make household chores fun. That’s because when the house is clean, you have more opportunities (not to mention the energy) to engage in family time. Keeping a clutter-free space will also keep the mood in your home positive, which can reduce irritability and create a happier environment. A basketball laundry hamper or timer to see who can clean their room first will go a long way to keeping things clean and the kids active.
Host Active Playdates
Make active play dates a priority. This doesn’t mean you have to jog around the block but look for a theme, such as a pirate day, which can include hunting treasure and pretending to see faraway lands with a DIY telescope. You can also plan to meet up at your local trampoline park or skating rink.
Dance Via VR
Older kids and teenagers are notorious for living life in front of a screen playing video games. While you should not let them spend more than a few hours each day playing games, you can turn some of their game time and exercise time. A VR headset can help your kids play games, like Beat Saber, that satisfy their need for technology while keeping their bodies in motion.
Forage for Food
Foraging is a great way to get outside, burn some calories, enjoy the sunshine, and learn about local foliage. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a foraging group that will help you locate wild berries and other safe edibles that you can use in your own kitchen.
Take a Tumble
We don’t mean to fall down the stairs, but instead, to take a tumbling class. Tumbling and other gymnastics-based activities can help the kids work on flexibility and strength while conditioning them for other sports, such as baseball, tennis, or golf. Boys and girls alike can enroll in tumbling classes, which are available in virtually every city in the U.S.
Why Exercise Is Important For Kids
Even if your child is a healthy weight, keeping them active is one of the best ways to stave off the potential of childhood obesity, which is a serious crisis in the US. It doesn’t matter whether you live in an affluent area or in an underserved community, childhood obesity doesn’t care about your income level or ethnicity. When combined with lessons about making healthy food choices, physical activity can help keep your children healthy for a lifetime.
Exercise can be fun, and it can be a great way for families to bond. Whether you choose to walk the dog together each evening or enroll in tumbling classes, every movement your kids make puts them closer to making better decisions in adulthood. These are just a few ideas, but anything you do off the couch counts.