Story and Photos by Amanda Causey Baity
Making time to work out isn’t easy. In fact, “I don’t have time” is the biggest excuse I use because I honestly do not want to. It’s extra hard when you have a family, but the key is to find ways to work out with them. Try these “games” when you want to burn calories without sacrificing family time. The plus with these activities is that you’re setting a great example for your kids by showing them you can have fun while being active.
Sing and Dance While You Clean
Set aside time for household chores and do them together as a family. Play music as you clean, and take turns choosing favorite songs. Younger children love to help out and can pick up toys or sweep floors while dancing with the broom. Older kids can dust, vacuum, and help make beds.
Are you going for a walk with the family? We have one in a stroller, so this also helps the baby have fun. Start off walking together. Then, every time you get to a marker on a walking track, one of you runs a lap block until catching up to the rest of the group. Kids old enough to run around by themselves shouldget in on the action. Try to keep moving for 35 to 60 minutes.
Make Yard Work Less of a Chore
Enjoy seasonal yard work together. Younger children can help plant and tend a garden. Older kids can rake leaves into a pile and then jump in it. Make snow shoveling fun for all by building a snow fort or creating a family of snow people.
Hit the Deck
Assign different exercises to each suit in a deck of cards. For example:
- Hearts = squat jumps (squat down, quickly jump up, land back down into a squat and immediately jump up again)
- Diamonds = supermans (lay on your stomach and raise your arms and legs off the ground at the same time like planking)
- Spades = jumping jacks
- Clubs = mountain climbers (in a push-up position, bring your right knee toward your chest, extend your right leg back in place and quickly draw your left knee toward your chest – kind of like you’re running in place).
Now take turns turning over the cards and do the number of reps on the card. If you get a five of hearts, you have to do five squat jumps. Got an eight of spades? That’s eight jumping jacks. Try to get through the whole deck of cards.
Are you watching television with your kids? Don’t spend commercial breaks lounging. Every time a commercial
comes on, do a different exercise. First commercial: butt kickers (stand tall on the balls of your feet and rapidly,
alternatively kick up your heels toward your butt). Second commercial: high jumps. Third commercial: high knees
(run in place, bringing knees high up to your chest). Create moves according to your kids’ abilities and do different
routines for each set of commercials. They will have fun moving with you, and you’ll feel better knowing you’re getting a little workout while watching TV.
Amanda Causey Baity (firstname.lastname@example.org), Prince William Living’s marketing director and photo
editor, also blogs about thrifty family activities on her blog VanDorenFarm.com.