Creative Ways to Get Your Kids Moving

Studio 5 Health & Fitness Contributor, Melanie Douglass, R.D. shares 3 tricks that makes exercise fun for the whole family.

Obesity in our children has tripled since 1980 and a whopping 69% of adults are overweight or obese. It’s not good. But the bright side is that we are not stuck with these numbers. A quick workout could change that – right now. Exercise is something we should do with our kids starting today – and continuing each and every day. Regardless of age, weight, shape or size… exercise is something we all need in order to look and feel our best. No one is too young or old to ignore the need for daily activity.

Here are three great tactics to help you sneak exercise (and precious family time!) into your busy family schedule. Just 10 minutes of activity can help every single member of the family feel happier and healthier… and develop lifelong positive habits with lifetime benefits.

1. Make Your Own Workout Card Game: Bootcamp Shuffle
This can be done by making your own (very simple) card game – if you make your own cards, the kids can be involved and get excited to try the game. If you don’t want to make your own card game, here’s a link to a print-ready pdf version of the cards: (just print 2-sided and you’ll have a front and a back for each card)

If you want the kids to get involved, here’s how you can easily make these fun cards on your own:

· Let your kids be totally creative in deciding shape of the cards, how to write the exercise names and drawing fun pictures or cues

· Start by cutting sheets of cardstock in fourths

· List an “exercise challenge” on each card. Here’s a great list of exercise challenges to use:

o 10 Push-ups
o 20 Sit-ups
o Plank Hold (hold 30 seconds)
o 20 Squats
o 20 Lunges (10 left, 10 right)
o 50 Jumping Jacks
o Run in Place (30 seconds)
o 50 Ski Jumps (side to side, moguls)
o 10 Burpees
o 50 Bicycle Crunches
o Side Plank (hold 30 seconds)
o Mountain Climbers (30 seconds, fast knees!)
· Then play “Bootcamp Shuffle!”
o Shuffle the cards and give each player 1 card
o Each player completes their card, or “exercise challenge”
o The first player to complete their challenge wins the round – and has the exclusive right to switch cards on the next round. So, for example, if player 1 wins the first round, he or she can keep the next card/challenge they draw – OR – they can switch cards with another player, giving away those dreaded burpees, etc.
o Go as many rounds as you can – try to play with your kids for 10 – 30 minutes most days of the week.

2. Keep a “Family Fitness” Workout Bag on Hand
Grab a large tote or beach bag and fill it with my favorite (cheap!) items that create fun, family friendly workouts. Keep the bag in your car, by the backyard door, or next to the TV – somewhere handy so you can seize 10 minutes of activity…. anytime and anywhere. Here are great items to put in a family fitness tote:
§ Paper plates – for sliding exercise like speed skaters and scissors
§ Jump ropes
§ Resistance tubing
§ Inflatable beach ball
o You can fill this with water and hold while doing jumping jacks, runs, or throw it back and forth for weighted partner tossing
§ Agility cones (for races, skills, ladders and hoping exercises)
§ Football, basketball or soccer ball (pick your family’s favorite sport)
§ Sports Timer
§ Bootcamp cards (from above)

3. Add “Family Trainer” to Job Charts
This one is easy – just like you might assign your kids dish duty, or other chores around the house – designate one family member to be the “Family Trainer” for the day. The family trainer gets to choose, plan and direct a 10-minute family workout activity. They can choose anything within reason, or make-up their own activity that meets one simple rule: increase your heart rate. It can be a video workout game, a family walk around the block, a favorite sport, a dance-your-heart-out session… anything. Adding trainer duty to your family schedule 3 – 5 times per week lets your kids get excited about exercise because they are in charge, they get to be creative, they get to spend more time with family, and ultimately and most importantly, they get healthier… each and every day.