5 Ways to work out with your kids

Jan 26, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. ET

You say you're too busy with the kids to squeeze in a workout? We've used that excuse too. But no more! The New Year is the perfect time to start a fun fitness routine with your kids.

Family Exercise

With these five fun ways to exercise as a family, you'll never miss a workout again! (Still need more motivation? They'll be pooped at bedtime. So there.)

Enjoy non-structured sports

Rules schmules. Forget the serious aspect of sports and just have fun kicking a ball back and forth, tossing a football or playing catch. Kick it up a notch by adding challenges along the way. But don't allow rigid rules of the game to interfere with creating a love of exercise for your child -- and you!


Regardless of what kind of activity you engage in with your kids, be sure to emphasize the importance of enjoying being active. You don't want to teach your children to dread a workout session, but rather to look forward to an hour a day of whatever activity they love the most!

Create an obstacle course

Don't forget a timer so you and your kids can log -- and beat! -- your own best personal times.

You don't have to spend a ton of money on fancy obstacle course equipment to get a great workout fit for serious athletes. Set up your own obstacle course using items you probably already have in your backyard. Line up Hula Hoops on a grassy area for you and your kids to jump back and forth from, use foam water noodles to create a maze and set up cones for sprint sessions.

Check out these 8 backyard games to keep kids entertained >>

More than a stroll in the park

Have you ever noticed how tired (and sweaty!) your children are after they get done playing on the playground? Instead of watching from the park bench, why not join your kids on the swings, slides and monkey bars -- you name it. You'll soon find yourself a little winded and remember why you used to love exercise so much, too. Because it's supposed to be fun!

Take this quiz to find out the best quality time activity for your family >>

Tow your tot

Just because your child is too little to exercise on his own doesn't mean you can't enjoy a sweat session with him in tow. Pack him in a carrier and head out on a flat-surfaced hiking trail, strap him into a stroller and join a group of moms, such as Stroller Strides, who work out with their stroller babies or check out your local yoga studio's class schedule for a mommy and me or kid-friendly yoga class.

Read up on keeping toddlers active >>

Bust a virtual move

Kids and video games go together like peanut butter and jelly. So instead of fighting the passion of an entire generation, jump onboard! Gaming systems like Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect inspire the entire family to join in the fun with active video games like sports, adventure activities and dancing.

More activities for the whole family

Fun twists on classic playtime activities
4 Ways to combine playtime with a workout
Fun winter sports for the whole family