We all need to exercise, but unfortunately, many of us don’t. While kids seem to have endless energy, they can crash pretty hard at the end of the day. As adults, we usually don’t exercise because we think we are too busy with work, raising a family or tending to other commitments. Plus, with all the innovative electronic devices, video games and triple-digit television channels, physical activity is being reduced to unhealthy amounts.
One of the ways we can keep ourselves and our children healthy is to set aside time for physical activity. Exercising together will give you another way to bond and strengthen your relationship. Here are four ways you can make it happen.
1. Turn Chores Into Fun Games
Trying to turn chores into fun exercises might be a tough sell depending on the age of your children, but try it. There’s no reason raking leaves can’t be fun — especially if you’re going to put them into a big pile for your children to jump into.
Have your kids pretend they are superheroes who must “save” their toys from evil demons — by putting them all back where they belong. This may deviate into further play, but it’s better than picking the things up yourself.
Award a prize for helping with chores — even little kids can fold clothes. They aren’t the best at loading the dishwasher, but they can bring dishes from the table and help put things away.
2. Join a Sports Team
Get your kids involved in sports and volunteer to coach. Team sports are an excellent way for them to make friends as well as get exercise. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to teach your child and mentor other children.
As the coach, you can see firsthand what athletic skills your child has and what things they need to work on. Then, you can bring your lessons home and work together on improving their skills. It’s an ideal way for you to be active in the community while spending time with your child.
3. Jump on the Trampoline
Kids will never think jumping on the trampoline is exercise, but you will find out quickly that it is. Yeah, you get some bounce off your jumps, but your leg muscles do a lot of the work. In fact, jumping on the trampoline increases your heart rate and is an enjoyable source of aerobic activity.
You’ll use your muscles, joints and even your brain during this exercise. If you haven’t been on a trampoline in a while, take it slow at first. Be careful you don’t get too many people jumping at once, either — you’ll end up bonking heads instead of having fun.
4. Set Up a Routine
For kids who are committed to exercise, design a simple exercise routine you can do together. Push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and leg lifts are all simple but effective exercises for which you need no specialized equipment. Do a few pushups, and you’ll quickly remember how hard they are.
If you have a weight set, add those exercises to the routine. Focus on form rather than the amount of weight you or your child are using. Start with lighter dumbbells and slowly increase the weight as the repetitions become easier.
Keep track of your progress in a notebook or on a dry erase board. Set weekly and monthly goals you can work on together. It will be tough at first, but soon you and your kid will both start to look forward to your workouts together.
Is working out too intense for you or your younger children? Take walks together after dinner whenever you can. It feels better to move around, especially after eating. You can use these walks as a time to talk and burn off some calories.
Choose the Best Form of Exercise for You
The particular exercise you choose is going to depend on your interest level and abilities of you and your children. What you choose doesn’t matter — as long as you’re spending a few hours a week exercising, it’s a good choice.
The most important thing is that you and your children encourage each other stick to it. After time, you’ll have both healthier bodies and a stronger relationship.
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