Make Exercise a Family Affair

Exercise with your childExercise? Who’s got time?

As the New Year approaches, many of us are planning to begin an exercise routine. In a world where we are overloaded with information on the best ways to stay healthy, it is reassuring to know that all the health professionals agree that we all need regular physical workouts  for optimal health, well being, longevity and self-esteem.

As busy parents, where do we find the time in our already hectic schedules? Rather than continuing to be frustrated by not having alone time to exercise, how about making fitness part of the family’s routine? Exercise is important for adults and kids alike. Including kids in a family fitness program is a simple solution that helps build lifelong, healthy habits for everyone. Children learn through example, and kids are more likely to maintain their innate desire to run and play when they have fun exercising with their parents. Studies show that kids who exercise regularly do better in school.

Must I sweat?

Set a good exampleAlthough any exercise is beneficial, new research suggests that short intervals of high intensity exercise teaches our bodies to better recover from stress, and it burns fat quickly. Even 10 minutes of high intensity exercise with short breaks in between has significant benefits. Yes, you must sweat! But remember you are growing younger every time you get your heart rate up by stimulating Human Growth Hormone (HGH).

Getting Started

Doing exercises with your kids can be fun and fast. Here are just a few ideas to get started:

  • Go for walks together around the block (then add in short races);
  • Have your kids ride their bikes while you walk or run beside them;
  • Play tag with your kids at the park or in your back yard;
  • Dance around the house to your favorite (kid-friendly) music.
  • Tone your legs by doing lunges and squats while holding your young child.
  • Raise and lower your child above your head to strengthen your upper body (draw in your stomach muscles to support your back).
  • Get your kids to count to 20 while you do jumping jacks and/or tuck jumps. Encourage them to join in.
  • Involve your children in the sports you enjoy such as soccer, basketball, tennis, cycling, running;
  • Practice deep breathing fully into your diaphragm.
  • We all benefit from deep breathing, especially during times of stress.

A commitment to fitness is important, and showing our children that exercise is fun might be even more important. When families exercise together, everyone benefits with improved health and vitality. I hope that this year you can keep your fitness resolution!

Disclaimer: Always consult your health care provider before starting an exercise program.

Marina McLennanMarina McLennan is a Certified Personal Trainer and founder of Exercise Rhymes®, dedicated to helping adults and children have fun exercising together. As an active health-conscious new mom with limited time to exercise alone, Marina created Exercise Rhymes as family playtime focused on fitness. Marina studied dance for 15 years, yoga for 10 years, and is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and certified Mini Yogis® instructor. Marina has experience teaching kids dance/movement, yoga and preschool. Marina also has a business degree and many years of business consulting experience. For more info about her program you can contact Marina at