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How to Make Exercise a Family Affair

Like it or not, you’re a role model for the rest of your family. If you spend most of your time plopped on the couch and rarely exercise, you can expect more of your clan to do the same. So pack up the kids, leash the pooch and make exercise a family affair. Being a healthy role model is one of the best ways to get your kids up and at ’em on a regular basis. Let’s take a look at some cool tips on keeping energy levels high and your family — including your pets — in tiptop shape.

  • Always make exercise fun and enjoyable for everyone. Try activities that will raise heart rates, such as a game of family touch football, sack races at the family picnic or a group cycle around the neighborhood. Variety keeps attention spans in check, so to avoid boredom and to keep things interesting, change activities on a regular basis.

  • Take a family stroll around the neighborhood. Empower your kids by having a different child choose the route each time. It’s also fun to choose a theme for each walk, such as pointing out different wildlife creatures or going on a doggy hunt (whoever spots the most dogs gets to read an extra bedtime story).

  • Parents of young infants can buy a front pack to carry the baby. As the baby ages and can hold his head up, switch to a backpack kiddy chair. These kiddy harness packs allow you to walk briskly, hike and even hold the leash of the family pooch. Always wear them with good posture. You may also want to invest in a jogging stroller, which can also be used for walking. They even navigate well on sand, dirt and trails. There are also sturdy and stable strollers that attach to the back of your bike if you want to take your infant cycling with you; it’s a great way for both of you to see the scenery.

  • Are you tired of sitting on the sidelines? Rather than just watching the ball games, soccer drills and cheerleading practices, why not take a brisk walk around the baseball field or park? If you encourage other moms and dads to go with you, you’ll promote parental camaraderie and maintain a presence at the field. And who knows? You may find a new carpool group.

  • Once a week, go to the park or beach for a family affair. Play games, run through the sand, swing on the jungle gym, splash in the water. If you go with several other families you can play team activities such as kids vs. adults to promote teamwork and make friends.

  • Don’t forget your pup. If your four-legged friend doesn’t get any more exercise than a few trips to the feeding and drinking bowls, it’s time to get him up and moving. Make an effort to include your dog in your family fitness routine by taking him on family walks and outings.

  • The support of children’s participation in fitness activities, whether with the family, school or club, will teach them early in life about healthy lifestyle habits. It will also make it easier for you to exercise if your entire family understands the importance of staying in shape.

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