Creative Family Fitness

Find ways to be fit with your whole family!

You already know exercise is good for the whole family for many different reasons, but finding time to exercise can be a challenge, especially when you have to balance family schedules with work. Or maybe you’d rather be with your family than go workout.

As a working mom of four, I know the dilemma well, so I designed a way to get a workout with all of my kids that I want to share with you, so now you can spend quality time with your family, and also get your heart rate up. Not only do you get your exercise for the day, but these routines come with many laughs and giggles from your teammates.

With this type of workout you keep your routine fresh and your body guessing so you can really get in great shape! As many of you know, just playing with kids gets you into positions that you normally wouldn’t be in! Talk about being great for “muscle confusion”! Keep your camera ready for this routine-capture everyone having the time of your lives!

One quick note: It doesn’t hurt to sweeten the pot by giving kids something to look forward to when you finish—popcorn and a book on a big blanket or in a make-shift tent, or making healthy muffins together, for example.

1. Pump Up the Volume. Lately my crew has been big into Elvis, and we turn it up while doing all of the below activities. And sometimes we just dance.

2. Jump This Way. It always amazes me how a little piece of rope can work the lungs and heart so intensely, plus improve coordination. Jump ropes cost only a dollar at the dollar store, and can travel with you wherever you go. Time yourself for 1 minute of jumping, then rest 1 minute, and then go for 2 minutes, rest for 2, then 3, rest for 3, and then back down to 2 and then 1 minute. Vary your jump styles, too. Jump Roping is sure to take the edge off of the kids, and the pounds off you.

3. Hula Hoop. Believe it or not, hooping has become a national trend and is proven to deliver a great workout. Buy a child-sized hoop at the dollar store for the younger kids, and splurge on an adult weighted hoop for you. They can be found online in fun colors and patterns, too. Add the hoop into your circuit, below, or have hooping contests to see who can hoop the longest, walk the furthest, hoop standing on one leg, etc.

3. Make a Circuit Circus. Spread out 5 or more exercise stations around your room, blare the music, and rotate from one station to the next every 1-3 minutes. Some stations can be downright silly, like jumping back and forth over a pillow, or pretending you are swimming by doing front stroke, breaststroke or backstroke. Some other ideas for stations are: sit-ups, climbing up and down stairs, summersaults, jumping jacks, squats, lunges, jumping on a mini trampoline (rebounder), marching with high knees, bouncing on the fitness ball, pretend tantrums on the belly and back, jumping rope, crawling through pillow-tunnels, throwing a ball back and forth or through a hoop or in a trashcan, and good old-fashioned push-ups.

4. Suicides. I’m not crazy about the name, but my kid’s tennis instructor does this exercise with them at every lesson and they’re actually fun. Have a starting line, and anywhere 10 or more feet away have a finishing line (we use the jump ropes to mark our lines). Put 10 beanbags or small stuffed animals behind the starting line, and have one child begin if you’re in a smaller room, or if you have the space, have two or more play at the same time. Take one bean bag and run it over to the finishing line, and drop it in over the line, then run back and get the next one and do the same until all bags are over the finish line.

5. Walk like a ______. Take the kids for a walk, and spice it up with short intervals of walking backwards, skipping, walking like you’re in mud, on the moon, or against the wind, walking or skipping sideways or running. You can even be silly and walk like your favorite characters; Santa Claus, the President, Mickey Mouse, a queen, or favorite animals.

By using your imagination and making the most of these exercise opportunities, you can get in great shape, burn calories and walk away with some great memories and pictures!

Written by Alice Burron of 2b fit.

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