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5 Ways to Exercise with Your Children

Engaging your children in a health-promoting lifestyle should be a priority for every loving parent. But if you want trim and healthy kids, you have to get trim and healthy yourself. This is how to do it.

1. Go on a Treasure Hunt

Here’s a great way to keep the family fit and teach your children about trust, teamwork and problem solving at the same time. Take them to a local park and set an expedition course on a map. Circling various checkpoints. Take turns navigating to each point on the map and leading the team to each destination. “Start out with an easy course in an open park,” suggests Claire Small, a musculoskeletal physiotherapist with London’s Pure Sports Medicine. “Stay together and explore terrain features, study map clues and look for the secret treasure.” Sound too complicated? Then merely go hunting for insects, animals or flowers. You can’t entertain a young child much better than finding a slumbering beetle under a log or rock.

2. Throw a Sports Party

Rather then the typical balloons, cake and musical chairs birthday party, hold your child’s birthday party in an active location, such as a roller-skating or ice skating rink, a ski or climbing centre, or an indoor soft play area. You don’t have to limit this to parties. A growing number of indoor playgrounds offer structured games every week. Or you can have your own “no particular reason” party. Children not might think of what they’re doing as exercise – but it is.

3. Play Follow the Leader

Line up in single file and weave your way through the house or garden. Every few steps, hop, skip, jump or do some other movement that your followers must initiate. Once the children get the hang of the game, let them take turns as leader. Their naturally creative minds will come up with all sorts of fun movements for the followers to imitate. You’ll be out of breath before you know it.

4. Do Chores Together

Younger children often like to feel helpful and will enjoy helping you with household chores. Ask them to help you make the beds, join in with the dusting, fold the laundry and put it away and set the table. These are all physical activities that can help to get your heart rate up, stretch your body and build your muscles.

5. Dancing During Commercials

Make it a rule that whenever you watch television, you have to stand up and dance around during commercials. This goes for everyone. Whoever gets caught sitting on the couch during a commercial must perform his or her least-liked chore for a week.