If you find yourself pressed for time and don't have even minutes a day for your children, you may want to consider killing two birds with one stone. Make your exercise routine a family affair and encourage your children to get up just a bit earlier in the morning to engage in some type of physical activity. There are many choices, so choose the one that best fits your family's needs and budget, but be sure to consult a health care professional to see which exercise programs are safe.
Running or Jogging
The best thing about running or jogging is that it requires little special attire or equipment. A good pair of running shoes is all that you need, and it only takes minutes for the entire family to be ready for the morning run. You and your kids can run almost anywhere -- a local park, safe side streets or nearby school tracks. Take this time to catch up on what is happening in your child's life and have quality conversations with all members of the family.
Aerobics is a fast, wake-me-up type of exercise that anyone can do. Purchase exercise tapes, clear the living room and engage in some lively, body-bending routines that will help your family get the morning started. It does not even have to be a long session -- there are many DVDs available with 10- or 15-minute exercise routines. If your budget and time allow it, there are also aerobics classes available in freestanding venues or at local fitness centers.
Yoga is a popular form of stretching exercise that even the youngest can do. If a class is not available, it can be done on mats in the family room or even outside on a sunny morning. The many benefits include improved flexibility, better balance and more stamina. For some, it also helps relieve stress and improve sleep. There are many forms of yoga, including power yoga, gentle yoga, and restorative yoga -- the choice will depend on the skill levels of your kids and their personal preferences.
Working with weights can help the entire family increase muscle capacity and gain strength. According to the Mayo Clinic, a 7- or 8-year-old can start this type of training if she is mature enough to follow directions and safety rules. This can be helpful in preparing children for after-school sports and extracurricular activities. It improves muscle tone, bone strength, and stamina and can also help prevent or minimize future sports injuries.
- KidsHealth: Kids and Exercise
- KidsHealth: Yoga
- Body Building for You: Weight Training for Kids -- When Should They Start?
- HealthyChildren.org: Ages and Stages -- Types of Exercise
- The Mayo Clinic: Tween and Teen Health -- Strength Training -- OK for Kids?
- Keep Kids Healthy: Fitness and Exercise Guide
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images