Family Fitness: 3 Inexpensive Exercises You Can Do Together

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Most people in the United States today don’t get enough exercise, and this is true of children up through senior citizens. We have simply become a sedentary culture, and we need to do something about it.

One of the best ways to solve the physical fitness crisis in America is by helping families to exercise together – and this doesn’t have to involve fancy exercise classes or sports teams. There are lots of great activities kids and adults can work into their daily lives that not only improve health, but also can help you bond as a family. And because kids follow their parents’ lead in developing healthy habits, you’ll be setting them up for a lifetime of success.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider these 3 great activities. And don’t forget to consult your doctor – just as kids should get sports physicals before joining a team, you shouldn’t dramatically alter your habits without checking with your physician first.

Hit The Playground

Young children love the playground, but is there really anything for you to do there as an adult? When you begin looking at the equipment through a new lens, you may be surprised. For example, while the kids are building upper body strength by swinging across the monkey bars, you can join in by performing some pull-ups on the same equipment.

Even if you don’t go to the playground to get a conventional, gym-style workout, you’ll still get a good dose of exercise chasing and lifting your preschooler, or playing one-on-one on the basketball court with your teen.

Be Silly, Get Messy

One of the best ways to make exercise fun is by being spontaneous about it, so let your environment provide the cues. If your kids are playing dress-up while listening to music, challenge them to a silly dance-off. Or if it’s snowing, gather the group to go sledding, challenging the kids to race you back up the hill after each run.

Don’t forget that it’s okay to get messy while exercising. You wouldn’t object to sweating while on a run – that’s just what happens when you exercise – so why balk at a little mud? After the next rain storm, have a mud puddle jumping contest with your kids and don’t worry about the dirt. Just hose them off and stick them in the shower when you’re done.

Keep It Simple

Many things that were once staples of a more active childhood have been pushed to the wayside by modern technology, so consider picking up those old toys in an effort to get fit. Buy some hula hoops and shimmy with your kids in the backyard, or introduce a Skip-It, one of the top outdoor toys of the 1990s. These are inexpensive toys and can add some novelty to your fitness routine – plus, you can show off your old-school skills to your kids.

Families that play together, stay together, so make fitness a priority for your household. Just be sure not to turn it into a chore – exercise is important, but it should be a source of pleasure, not of pain.

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