One of the biggest hurdles to working out we hear from parents is they’d rather spend time with their kids than sit in a hot, sweaty gym. Great news, moms and dads! You don’t have to segment your activities—fitness time can also be family time!
In fact, studies show kids are more likely to be active and measure in at a healthy weight when their parents encourage fitness and demonstrate healthy habits themselves. Ready to get the entire family off the couch? Here are 5 ways to sweat (and smile!) with your kids.
1. Go for a run/walk Jogging strollers are better than ever these days, and some styles can fit up to three kids weighing 190 pounds. (Just make sure your baby isn’t too little—jostling around can cause head and neck injuries in infants younger than six months.) Kids that are too big to be strapped in can ride their bikes or scooters next to you.
2. Encourage active video gaming Sometimes pulling older ones away from the screen creates more drama than it’s worth. It’s OK to go the no-tears route and let them keep their eyes glued, just change the game. Wii Fit, Xbox 360, and other platforms offer games that require physical movement, and research shows these types of games can combat childhood obesity.
3. Hike up a hill Being in nature can be rejuvenating—for you and the entire family. “I love bringing my three kids—aged 6, 8, and 11, along when I go for a hike,” says Helen Olsson, author of The Down and Dirty Guide To Camping With Kids. “I’m not able to move as quickly with the little ones as I do on my own, and my backpack is heavier thanks to the extra water and snacks I’m carrying for them, but I gain so much family bonding time.”
4. Hang in the driveway Remember 4 Square? (The game, not the app!) All you need is a ball, a stick of sidewalk chalk, and four eager participants to have a rousing tournament. Other great tools for driveway games: hula-hoops, jump ropes for double-dutch, a basketball net, and the list goes on!
5. Find out what they enjoy—then do it together! Does your daughter love kicking a ball? Is your son more into hitting them? Find a family soccer or softball league in your area. You’ll be able to pass on the lessons of good sportsmanship and it’s a great way to meet other active families! (If you can’t find a league for kids and adults, just sign up the little ones. You can always walk or run laps around the field during practices and games to stay active yourself.)
How do you set a fit example for your kids? Share in the comments below!