family biking together

Most weeks, we probably all feel as though we need more hours in the week. During our hectic schedules, it’s hard to squeeze everything in – time with our family and significant others, time to take care of ourselves, time to enjoy hobbies on top of busy work and school schedules.

Although we all know that living a healthy lifestyle should be a priority, some weeks it seems impossible to find the time to exercise. However, certified health coach (and mother of two) Pam Howard reminds us that exercising isn’t just for us – it’s for our kids too.

“Parents who exercise with their children are not only teaching them how to live a healthy lifestyle, they are also reinforcing the family bonds and creating wonderful family traditions. It’s fantastic for super-busy parents who wouldn’t get as much exercise as they need without incorporating their kids in the process,” Howard said in a PBS interview.

Here are a few suggestions on ways you and your family can workout together:

Go for Neighborhood Walks

After a meal or before the little one’s nap or anytime that fits in your schedule, take a trip or two around the block or neighborhood together. Whatever you do, place it in the schedule and stick to it. As you’re walking, you can make a game out of it. Find a cat that is usually sitting in a window, say hi to a dog in the yard, or visit a friend down the street for a short while, and then walk back. It makes it more fun and rewarding for the children, and you get a little fun and exercise in for yourself as well.

Dance It Up

Turn on some music and get your groove on. You can play a favorite song, or vary it up with disco nights or salsa night. Clear a space by moving some furniture and make a night of dancing with your kids.

Gamify the Chores

If those chores are piling up in the house and you need a little help, make some fun games that get the children to help you out. For dusting, you can pretend the dust creatures are invading the earth and it’s up to your kid to capture them with the duster. For those toys that are laying all over, the old classic song of “everybody clean-up” can work. For that laundry that needs folding, you can play guess whose it is. The one who guesses correctly first gets to fold it or not fold it—whatever gets it done.

Go To the Y

The YMCA has several things available that are open to all ages including the track where you can all walk and run together around. The pool is also open year-round with several open swim times where you can swim as a family. Also, if your children are old enough, they can also exercise alongside you on the equipment. The staff at your local Y would love to talk about your options for working out as a family.

Other ideas for working out:

  • Instead of lounging during the commercials, get up and do some silly moves.
  • Incorporate squats, push-ups, sit-ups or whatever else.
  • Have a sports night
  • Walk or run for a charity
  • Let the kids help with some yard work or gardening
  • Walk the dog together

Working out doesn’t have to be difficult or on a machine. The important thing is to show your family that exercise can be fun by making it part of your weekly routine.

Find a YMCA near you:

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