6 fun, everyday ways to sneak in exercise with your kid.
Hit the playground! “It’s honestly better — and far more fun — than any gym,” says Stefko. The monkey bars and mini-rock wall build upper-body muscle. Jumping off the climbing structures boosts bone density and leg strength. Heck, even the swings can be a good core workout. It’s like an outside circuit course.
Play a game. Kick-ball, tag, jumping rope, wheelbarrow races — they’re classics that absolutely count toward your child’s daily activity requirement. For younger kids, try Move Like an Animal (it’s a huge hit with the children Stefko works with). Call out the name of a critter and challenge your child to mimic the way it moves: hop like a frog, balance on one leg like a flamingo, stretch like a cat, and so on.
Do fun chores, like washing the car (and getting soaked and soapy in the process) or planting the garden — it all counts toward 60 minutes of activity a day!
Check out a class. Take your child to an open gym at the local gymnastics center and let her try out the equipment, or head to the indoor climbing wall or skate park for a lesson. One-offs like this are good because they let your kid try out a bunch of different activities to see what she likes best — without the time and money commitment of full-on, three-days-a-week lessons (which your child may end up hating).
Use people power. Ditch the car and walk or bike when you can. Pedal to the pool, playground, or pizza shop, and trek the mile to school on foot.
Inspire her. “Bring your kid to a sporting event — a Major League Baseball game or a high school volleyball match — so she can see and be motivated by the athletes,” suggests Stefko. Before or after the game, kick around a ball together, shoot baskets, or play a little backyard volleyball.