If it’s too cold to go for a walk or play your family’s favorite sports outdoors, there are always options for indoor exercise.
Activity guidelines recommended that adults get around 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity most days and that children get 60 minutes every day for optimal health. (1) This can seem challenging when the weather isn’t cooperating, but there are plenty of things you can do indoors to keep your family fit! Try some of our favorite indoor exercises or create your own!
Indoor family fun
Here are some fun ways to get movin’ with the family with indoor games for kids.
Get the whole crew to dance to your family’s favorite music, and take turns choosing songs. Moving your body is a great way to exercise your heart. Mix it up with new dances like salsa or swing to keep your kids excited about shaking their hips. You can also take out the flashlights and make it disco night. Make this a habit during kitchen clean-ups or homework breaks.
Jumping jacks and hula hoop contest
See who can go the longest. These competitions are a fun way to burn some calories and build coordination with your kids. They’ll make everyone jump for joy! Just make sure you’ve cleared out adequate space for full hip swings. Throw a handstand or cartwheel contest in there for an added twist.
Going up the stairs can strengthen your legs and keep your heart strong. In an observational study looking at how often people take the stairs, they found that the layout of buildings made a big difference! In the two buildings where stairs were more visible, accessible, and visually pleasing, 72.8% and 81.1% of people took stairs. This was many more than the small 8.1% in the building that was elevator-centric! (2) Even if the stairs aren’t always convenient, make it a fun task to find the staircase and feel your hearts pumping as you climb to the destination floor. Make it even more fun by adding in a challenge and see who can walk the most stairs in one minute. Increase the time for an even greater challenge! Make sure to remind kids of safety and avoid slippery socks.
Try doing acro yoga!
Parents with babies, tots or preschoolers can enjoy holding them through different yoga stretches or poses. Your kids will enjoy being held in the air while you get a good workout, working on balance and core strength.
Indoor exercise with screen time
We’re so used to being seated when we use our phones or watch TV, but here are some ways to be more active during screen time.
Try a workout app or video
Cost-free and no travel required, this is a great home workout! There are a lot of free options like Down Dog for yoga or the Nike Training app that require little to no equipment but will make you break a sweat. Check out YouTube channels, like Fitness Blender or GoNoodle, your free on-demand cable options, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and other subscription sites for fun workouts. You can even find a few basic items to keep in an accessible spot for your very own home gym.
Get moving during commercials
Make this a new house rule. During TV time, no sitting still during commercials! Jump up and down, dance, do jumping jacks, or wiggle like a worm until your show comes back on. Doing a little extra indoor exercise while in front of the TV can add up over time! See who can be the fastest, silliest, or sweatiest doing sit-ups, push-ups, or toe-touches.
Play exergames with your kids
Do your children enjoy video games? Consider limiting their playing time to active games for the Wii, XBOX Kinect or PlayStation Move, like Wii Fit or Kinect Sports. Enjoy exergames together for family fun. Bodies are made to move!
Jazz up your clean-up
Let’s be honest, we all want a clean house but might not enjoy the process of getting there. Here are some ways to get your heart rate up doing household chores.
Swing your partner round and round
Music makes it go faster! Turn on some upbeat music and dance across the floor with your wood-handled “partner” as you sweep and mop!
Play a game of “Musical Chores”
Make a playlist of songs about five minutes in length, and assign each child an age- and stage-appropriate job, like picking up clothes, toys, and books. Press “play” and when each song is over, move on to the next assignment!
Break it down
Make small tasks out of larger ones to better facilitate the fun! For example, assign different laundry tasks to each member of the family – collecting, washing, drying, folding just shirts, folding just pants, or hanging up the clothes. Each task can be a mini-contest in and of itself!
There are endless possibilities for getting active indoors! Pick a few of your favorites or make up your own and try them out with your family.
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