Think back to the earlier, simpler days of your childhood. A time when running and riding around took no motivation at all. Remember jumping jacks? The monkey bars? Bear crawls? It probably didn’t seem like it at the time, but yes… you were exercising, and having a really good time in the process.
Even though it’s been years since you busted those moves, the muscle memory is still there. There’s no reason you can’t bring them all back for a fun workout that is relatively easy and a great way to get the whole family moving together.
1. Jumping Jacks
This classic little-kid exercise is great for loosening up and getting your blood flowing. Longer sessions of 15 minutes or so can also help provide some toning and quality cardiovascular training. For starters, though, just go until you’re tired. Or make a contest out of it and see who in your family can do the most. You can also add 1-minute jumping jack intervals during a walk to add a little boost to an otherwise easy stroll through the park.
2. Bear Crawl
Try not to laugh too hard when you’re down on all fours, crawling across the living room floor or the backyard. Simply drop down on your hands and feet and crawl. This exercise is good for working your shoulders, core and quads (and your sense of humor).
3. Monkey Bars
Liability insurance has tamed today’s monkey bars compared to the good old days, but you can still find some nice setups at parks and on playgrounds. Monkey bars are multi-functional too, offering a good place to do pull-ups, dips, leg raises or just a few laps back and forth.
This is another great way to limber up. To do the inchworm, bend forward from a standing position at your hips and “walk” your hands forward until your body is in the plank position (as if you were about to do a pushup). You can either then walk your hands back toward your feet so that you’re standing up again, or walk your feet forward, slowly to a standing position, and repeat.
5. Jump Rope
Whether you’re a heavyweight boxing champ training for a title defense, or a 5-year-old girl having fun at recess, jumping rope is both a lot of fun and an amazing workout. According to WebMD, jumping rope burns at least as many calories per minute as running an 8-minute mile. Men’s Journal magazine says it’s more like a 6-minute mile. Either way, it’s a good workout that is cheap, fairly easy and great for cardiovascular health. You’ll also tone the muscles in your legs, abdomen and shoulders.
What exercises do you like to incorporate into family activities? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.