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Ideas for Exercising with Kids

Finding time to exercise can be difficult, especially so if you juggle a work schedule and have young children at home. Encouraging your children to exercise with you is a winning solution! – We know that healthy habits established in childhood are more likely to “stick” into adulthood. Actively playing with your children builds parent child relationships while supporting mental, emotional, and physical health benefits.  Active playtime is exercise in disguise.

Exercising with children can also be a lot more fun than traditional workouts. Here are just a few “kid friendly” exercise ideas that people of all ages can enjoy together:

Take a walk or a run. Don’t overlook the benefits of a simple family walk, run, or jog. Turn the walk into an adventure for young children by playing “I spy” along the way or design a counting challenge such as, “how many squirrels you can spot along the way?” Young children are guaranteed to enjoy time spent with you outdoors. Children also take comfort in watching their parents take responsibility for their own health.

Ride a bike. Children as young as 18 months can learn to ride a balance bike, and with a little practice will soon be ready to ride a traditional bike. There are dozens of great bike trails across Alabama, including road biking and mountain biking. Just don’t forget to wear a helmet!

Dance. Children of all ages, from infancy on up, love to dance, and even the worst dancers shouldn’t feel silly dancing with their family. Check out this playlist of family-friendly dance songs, or even better, create your own and share it to our HEAL Facebook page.

Skate. Roller skating and indoor ice skating are both great ways to beat the summer heat or to exercise out the winter blahs. If you can’t visit a rink, in-line skating is a great option for outdoors.

Play ball. While organized sports are fun, there are lots of options for informal or ”disorganized” ball that your family can play in the backyard, at a nearby park, or even in the house. Most kids love an easy game of kickball or flag football. Or try some of these fun options.

Walk the dog. Dogs need exercise, too and this easy “chore” is a great way to explore the neighborhood and spend time as a family.

Get some screen time! Most kids love screens and may even be more tech savvy than their parents. Take advantage of this by encouraging your child to find active on-line activities, like exercise videos, dance challenges or even active video games.

Involve your children in coming up with more ideas. The key to keeping an exercise routine at any age is to make it fun and enjoyable. Use the opportunity to discuss how physical activity is not just fun but helps keep the body strong and makes the brain function better. A healthy lifestyle is the best form of preventive medicine and supports overall quality of life for the whole family.