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Over 18% of kids are now considered obese, up from just 4% in the 70’s and 80’s, leading to small children who now suffer with everything from gout to Type 2 diabetes.
That’s scary, isn’t it?
But, is it really any wonder that it’s happened between all of the processed foods, more time spent on computers, tablets, phones and gaming systems and less physical activity required at school?
Luckily, that’s where we as parents come in to help our kids stay healthy and fit.
By teaching them good habits now, we can ingrain in them a lifetime love of exercise and eating right.
Yet, exercising with kids isn’t always easy.
I know my girls either want to crawl on top of me or ask me about a million questions a minute, making it difficult to get a good workout in.
But, I have found 10 great ways to exercise with my kids to get fit and still maintain my sanity.
#1 – Biking
Kids love to ride bikes. You probably remember learning to ride growing up.
The freedom of being on a bike, the wind in your hair is an incredible part of childhood so harness that to keep your kids active.
Pick up a used bike for yourself off Craigslist or Facebook and ride with your kids. You’ll burn lots of calories while making even more memories.
#2 – Nature Walks
My kids love to take walks with my husband and I, especially if we turn it into a game of who can find the prettiest leaves, flowers, rocks, etc. Sometimes we try to spot different birds or count the cows, horses, donkeys and other animals we see along the way.
By keeping the kids busy, they don’t even realize they’re exercising and we have a great time watching them interact.
#3 – Yoga
This is one formal exercise program that’s great for the whole family.
Pick up a special mat for each child (we found ours for just $5 each at Five Below) and you’ll make their day as they feel so grown-up.
Yoga poses are easy for kids and promote balance and flexibility as well as a mindfulness that can go a long way to helping them in school.
#4 – Hula Hooping
Want a great core workout? Then break out those hula hoops.
Challenge your kids to see who can keep their hula hoop going the longest, who can do the craziest trick, or who can make it go the slowest without falling.
Kids love it!
#5 – Gardening
The yard work has to be done so why not use it as a way to get exercise in for your whole family?
Have the kids help you pull weeds, rake, bag leaves and more.
They’ll work all of their big muscle groups while learning responsibility.
#6 – Sports Nights
Set up a weekly sports night where the whole family plays.
If your family has one favorite game, like baseball, divide into teams and see who can win the penant each month.
Or, you can alternate sports each week to mix it up and try something new.
#7 – Swimming
It’s one of the best exercises for any age and kids love it so much they would never believe it’s good for them.
Swim laps next to your kids, do water aerobics together and just play in the pool. You’ll all enjoy staying active.
#8 – Playground Fun
Instead of watching your kids play at the park, get out there and play with them.
The monkey bars give you a great upper body and ab workout while teeter totters and swings work your legs and buttocks.
You’ll have a “playground body” in no time and your kids will be healthy and fit.
#9 – Hopscotch
Hopscotch isn’t just fun, it’s a workout. Jumping from leg to leg works all of the muscles in your lower body as well as your core.
So, break out the chalk and get ready to play!
#10 – Jumping
From jumping rope to jumping on a trampoline, you and your kids will have fun the fit way.
Jumping rope provides great cardio exercise while at the same time strengthening your bones. You can plan jump rope contests, play those old schoolyard jumping games or just set a timer and have everyone in the family jump together.
If you have younger kids, trampolines can be lots of fun. They’re wonderful for helping kids get their exercise while learning balance. Just make sure to use all the safety measures, like closed sides to prevent falls.
Pick Your Faves and Get Active
Even though kids may not enjoy exercise in its traditional sense, there are lots of fun family activities that can keep everyone fit and healthy.
Choose as many of the ones above as work for your family to teach your kids to stay active for life.
How do you and your kids exercise together? Post it in the comment below!
Want to get in great shape? Check out our post on 4 Diets for Stay-at-Home Moms that Really Work.
And as always, I wish you a strong family, optimal health and smart incomes.