What kinds of exercise are fun for the whole family?

I love to exercise with my family.  We live in a community where physical education is not offered to my kids every day, so it is important as a parent that we stay active. 

During the warmer months we often take bike rides together or hike in the mountains.  My kids love climbing and hoping from rock to rock.  Devil's Tower is nice because the path works well with strollers for the little one while the big kids can climb.  We like to hike quite a bit.  Last time we went to Spearfish Canyon where we had not hiked before.  It was wonderful adventure getting to our desination "Devil's Bathtub".  Going places you have not been before can be quite exciting.

We also enroll them in sports that they enjoy.  We are not only there to cheer them on, but have coached their teams as well.

We are a family of 5 and there is a large age gap in my children.  However, finding appropriate family activities and exercise is always a priority.
Does your family groan at the mere mention of exercise? If so, it's time for a new approach! Get creative. Instead of "exercising," bring your family together for some entertaining and physically active family time. Fun and active games like the ones listed below keep young (and old) players engaged and entertained while they're moving around -- perfect as family entertainment or a play date.

Note: For safety's sake, keep the ages of the players in mind and make changes to the game(s) as necessary.
  • Dance off: Have a dance competition with fun categories like best new move, fastest dancer, slowest dancer -- you get the idea. Want to start small? Tonight, when you're watching TV, dance with your kids during TV commercials. You'll be surprised at how fun it can be.
  • Follow the leader: A rousing game of follow the leader will get the entire gang moving together! Encourage the leader to be creative with movements such as hopping like a frog, running with arms out like a bird or an airplane, marching like a band, jumping, dancing or twirling. Everyone's heart will be racing within minutes.
  • On your marks, get set, race! Walking to the corner? Race there instead. Going to get the mail? Don't walk, run and see who gets there first. Little races here and there are a fun way to incorporate small increments of activity into you and your little one's day.
  • Jumping contests: If your children love to jump, turn it into a fun and physical game. Grab some chalk or string and draw a starting line. Take turns to see who can make the longest jump.
  • Duck, duck, goose: This is an oldie but goodie. If you've never played, here are the basics: Players sit in a circle, facing inward, while one player walks around tapping or pointing to each player, calling each a "duck," until finally picking one to be a "goose." That person gets up and chases the "picker" and tries to tag the "picker" before the "picker" can run around the circle and sit down in the spot where the "goose" was sitting. If the picker succeeds, the "goose" becomes the new picker. If the "goose" tags the picker, the "picker" tries again. Grab your gang and get moving!

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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.