By Alison Johnson, Special to Tribune Newspapers
4:00 PM CST, March 2, 2011
Family walks, bike rides and backyard games are great, but there are many ways to make fitness appealing to kids. "You are only limited by your own imagination," says Rogenia David, owner of My Gym Children's Fitness Center of Hampton Roads in Newport News, Va. "Once kids get going, it's hard to stop them." A few ideas:
•Turn chores into games. How fast can your child sweep all the "evil monsters" — dirt and crumbs — off the kitchen floor? How many stray socks can he find by sprinting all over the house and squatting down to look under each bed? How many bags of leaves can he fill in 30 minutes of backyard racing?
•Use commercial breaks. Whenever a favorite show is on, have each child plan and lead an exercise during breaks. You also can just turn on some upbeat music and dance.
•Sign up for a race. Jogging around the neighborhood tends to be more fun if you're getting in shape for a fundraising event such as a charity 5K or one-mile fun run.
•Make walks more entertaining. Turn your regular route into an obstacle course by jumping over fences, running up and down stairs or balancing on rocks. And learn which streets have cute dogs and cats — that's always a child-pleaser.
•Create indoor games. For example, take a pair of dice from a board game, pick an exercise — jumping jacks, sit-ups or push-ups are good ones — and roll the dice to see how many of the moves to do. Or blow up balloons and see how long your kids can keep them aloft by hitting them with one assigned body part (head, elbow, knee, etc.).