You, as a mom, probably know why exercise is so important. Getting your daily allotment of cardio is vital in reducing your risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Plus, physically active people are generally happier – staying active is important. 

But just because you know that, doesn’t mean your kids do – often it can be a challenge to keep your kids active. If you want them to exercise, often, the best way to do it is to disguise it. 

The same way you might mix medicine into their yogurt so that they are never the wiser, you can turn playtime into cardio, all without arousing their suspicions.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that, if these exercises are going to be on the more subtle side, they won’t be conventional exercises. 

Despite this, they will still get the job done. 

#1 Don’t Forget to Play

No matter how busy you are, if you can find a window of time, maybe just twenty or thirty minutes a day, for at least three days a week, to play, the benefits for you and your kids will be huge. 

Play can come in a variety of forms. Maybe you’re playing tag outside or at the park, maybe you’re playing soccer, or maybe you’re just running around – regardless of the medium, most types of vigorous ‘play’ can actually act as exercise. 

And, knowing kids, they will get your heart rate pumping, and they will make you sweat; they seem to always be bundled with endless reserves of energy. So, you get to spend time with your kids, you ensure that you get your own workout in, and you also ensure that your kids are active. 

Don’t forget to keep older kids busy and active too. From hiking to an Instagram-worthy spot, to target practice with BB guns, there are plenty of unique ways to pique the interest of any age child.

Plus, the more time you spend playing with your kids, the less time they’ll spend glued to a TV. Overall, playtime is a one of the best things for your kids. The surprising thing is how healthy it is for you, too.

#2 Walk, Bike, or Roller Blade

A great way to get in that suggested amount of cardio is to go for adventures; once on your adventure, you can walk or ride a bike (or, if you’re courageous, you can teach your kids how to use roller blades). This is a great way to establish strong family connections, while also getting that exercise in. 

After dinner, go for a walk (or ride) around your neighborhood. On the weekends, drive to your local park, and take the paths. Take walks through the woods – this has additional health benefits beyond that of cardiovascular health. 

If the kids are old enough and can be trusted to ride on their own, each of you can take electric bikes to explore a nature bike trail from start to finish.

And, if you can, try to walk places instead of driving. If your library or grocery store is close, leave the car and walk, as long as the weather permits. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to incorporate a healthy measure of walking into your daily routine. 

And, if you take your kids along with you, you’ll get them strong, and you’ll tire them out, which makes your nights that much easier. 

#3 Turn Chores into Playtime

Vacuuming is boring but necessary. But, if you can turn it into a spontaneous dance party, your kids will be ecstatic. Play some music, sing along, and dance like crazy. You will get sweaty. Your kids will get sweaty. But your house will get clean, and you and your kids will get their daily dose of cardio, in a way that is so well disguised that it’s actually fun. 

Everybody likes to dance, especially kids. Go wild, use the vacuum as a microphone stand. You can do this with a variety of chores. If you’re washing the dishes, get the music pumping – turn it into a dance party. 

Obviously, this will be more them than you, while you’re at the sink, but at least everyone will be together, and everyone will be active. 

The same mentality can be applied to yard work. Raking leaves is irritating. But, if you get your kids to help, you can rake up some huge piles. And then you get to watch as they leap in.

#4 Lightsaber Battles

Pretend sword fights can very quickly become a full-body workout. So, orchestrate lightsaber battles, inside or outside. Get a bunch of Nerf guns and incorporate these in. You can even have a solely Nerf-gun battle, again, inside or outside. 

This will help stoke that competitive spirit, will getting everyone active in a fun, creative way. Just make sure to put the nice china away before you start. 

#5 Walk the Dog

If you do have a dog, letting your kids walk it will make sure they get their exercise in. And, if you all go together, everyone will get their workout in. 

This is great on a bunch of levels. It keeps your family close, it shows trust and responsibility in your kids, and it is a great way to force a steady walking schedule. 

Besides these tips and methods, if you can figure out a way to work out with your kids, you’ll set them on a good path from a young age.

In keeping with this mentality, a home gym that is not off-limits is a great way to introduce the world of fitness to your kids and your whole family. Train with them, use your toddler as an extra weight when doing pushups or squats – make it more fun for everybody. Check out this blog for recommendations on how to build a home gym.

Making sure your whole family stays in shape is no easy task – you yourself are busy and your kids are different, with different interests. 

But it is a welcome challenge, and there are a number of ways to find success, all while fostering strong bonds and a love and appreciation for those little fun moments that make up their childhood.