How can playing with children help me keep active and burn calories?

Brooke Randolph
Marriage & Family Therapy
If you have children, playing with them can be a great way to model being active, build your relationship, and burn some calories all at the same time. Even if you don't have children at home, you can play like a child and bring some fun into your workouts:

Join a Team -- Think of all the activity, challenge, and fun you enjoyed with little league and school sports teams. When you are focused on competition, you can spend an extended amount of time being active without even noticing it. City parks, Sunday school organizations, and businesses all offer intramurals. If there isn't one near you, why not start one?

Playground Equipment -- A playground can be like an obstacle course. You can climb a pole, pump your legs on a swing, or cross the monkey bars. Monkey bars also offer a great tool for pull-ups, hanging sit-ups, and more.

Wheelies -- Before you could drive, you likely had experience with several self-propelled vehicles. You probably did not try Heelies, but why not now? Skating rinks do still exist and many cities have trails perfect for rollerblades and bicycles. Have you tried skateboarding? There are many ways to get from here to there that will benefit your body and the environment.

Run Around -- Instead of running circles on a track, chase your kids, or just follow their lead and run everywhere you go. Even if you are just going to the mailbox, active children would run that distance. Play tag with a group of kids. All these short runs end up being a lot of sprints without realizing what you are doing.
Children inherently love to be active. Playground games such as Hopscotch and Follow the Snake offer great ways to attain cardiorespiratory fitness. By playing these games with children, you’ll burn calories and have fun at the same time!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.