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family fitness

7 Creative Ways to Squeeze in Exercise

Simple ways to fit in fitness while spending time with your family.

It’s no doubt that exercising is more challenging after having a family. Between putting dinner on the table, school events, homework, and bath time, getting to the gym on a somewhat regular schedule is a real accomplishment. An unexpected sick kid or a school closure can throw off even the most dedicated gym-goer. But life shouldn’t get in the way of staying healthy. After all, it’s life you are trying to sustain.

When a traditional solo workout is impossible to squeeze in, think of creative ways to integrate exercise into your family routine. There are plenty of family-friendly exercise options right in your own backyard.

1. Get Out and Play

Think back to your childhood. Remember the long summer nights spent playing outside, and how you would crash from exhaustion as soon as your head hit the pillow? There’s nothing else like good, old-fashioned play to get your heart pumping while making memories. Dust off your dirty sneakers and get the family out in the yard to play games like Kick the Can, Red Light/Green Light, Sharks and Minnows, and Freeze Tag. Even if Mother Nature throws a curve ball, don’t be deterred: these games are sometimes more fun in the rain or snow.

2. Climb the Walls

Taking time to learn a new physical skill challenges your bodies and brains. The desire to climb can come naturally to kids, and climbing walls will keep them off the furniture—at least for a little while. Whether you are an experienced climber or just beginning, the family classes at Earth Treks in Golden offer a way to advance your belay and climbing skills as a family. (Family climbing lessons are $30 per person, age six and up.) Once your kids have mastered the wall, take advantage of Friday Night Rox supervised kids’ climbing to get your own workout in, or get out on the town. Apex Recreation Center in Arvada also offers climbing classes and staffed climbing times for age five and up.

3. Om Together

With special events such as Mother Daughter Yoga, and regular classes like Family Yoga and Baby and Me Yoga, The Mama’hood offers a variety of ways to find your zen with kids in tow. Also, check out a variety of kid and family yoga opportunities for all ages at Kids Yoga Guide. And you can practice right at home with a video on the Great Wolf Lodge website. Their Yoga Tales features a pack of animated animals stepping families through 14 different poses as they listen to a story. There’s even a cute poster of all the poses to download.

4. Visit a Great Park

Philip S. Miller Park is a family fitness playground, with options for both indoor and outdoor activities and some adventure thrown in. Start off by tackling the 200-step Challenge Hill staircase or the 7.4 miles of interconnected trail network. When the kids finish running wild, head over to the 2.5 acre Adventure Playground and take a trip down the 40-foot slide. If the weather is dicey, venture indoors at the Miller Activity Complex to check out the batting cages, trampoline play area or golf simulator. And if that’s not enough, the privately owned Castle Rock Zip Line Tours operates out of the park, offering zip line tours and the Epic Sky Trek aerial adventure park, including a specially designed kids’ course for age four and up.

5. Run, Walk, and Party

Colorado certainly offers a wide range of races and fun runs each summer. Many offer special short-distance runs and low-cost or free admission for kids. The Bubble Run (on July 28) is one of the family-friendly favorites of the summer. Kids age four and under race for free with an accompanying adult, and strollers are welcome. Wear a white shirt and be prepared to get sudsy as you run through foam bogs at each kilometer mark. After crossing the finish line, enjoy a DJ dance party with the whole family.

6. Bike It

Pick a trail near your home and ride bikes, or take a trip to Valmont Bike Park in Boulder. This 42-acre park with natural terrain trails and diverse amenities has something for every skill level. Riders of all ages will have a blast, and since it’s next to a dog park you can bring the whole family. Consider packing a picnic lunch to enjoy the view, and stop at the playground on your way out. The park will close during inclement weather; so check their Facebook page for announcements before making the trek.

7. Explore YouTube

Home with the kids? Don’t let that stop you from exercising. YouTube offers kids workouts of almost any type, but my personal favorite is Cosmic Kids Yoga. Instructor Jaime is one part yoga guru and one part storyteller. She leads viewers on “yoga adventures” that retell favorite stories—think Moana, Star Wars, and Frozen—through yoga poses. Jaime keeps moving throughout, offering a yoga flow that kids and adults alike will enjoy. Cosmic Kids offers workouts ranging from 10 to 30 minutes, 5-minute brain breaks, Namastories, and audio relaxations available in MP3 form.

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