From the crack of dawn until the edge of night, moms work to keep their families happy and healthy, and usually complain that they have no time to exercise. But, what about time spent with our families? Try combining family time and exercise to keep mom and the rest of the family full of energy.

When your kids have their play time at the park or in the back yard, don’t just sack out on the couch. Find ways to join in with their fun and get a bit of exercise in the process. Create silly drawings on the sidewalk with colored chalk. In the fall, rake the leaves together and take turns jumping on the pile. Just be sure to bag all the leaves when you’re done having fun.

One of my favorite games as a kid was hide and seek. Everyone knows that game. One person is “it” and everyone else has to hide from that person. If you are tagged before making it back to home base, then you become “it”.

Offer to be the first one to count. If you are tired, the process of counting gives you time to get your second wind. Besides, if you start off with kids who are learning how to count, you could be hiding for a long time. When you see the children, have some fun by letting them get at least half way to home base before you chase them. Your energy level will begin to rise and so will the laughter.

Dancing is an activity that qualifies as exercise. People love to do it because it doesn’t seem like exercise. Kids, especially toddlers, love to move to music. Put on some tunes and have a spin around the living room floor. Games like “Ring around the Rosy” combine singing, skipping, and fun.

If you have older children or teenagers, try some video games. I don’t mean sitting on the floor and mashing some buttons on a controller. Newer video games have gone “virtual reality”. These games involve actions on the part of the player that are mimicked by the characters on the television screen. Not only will it be entertaining, your teens can see how coordinated you are—or aren’t.

What about horseback riding? Many moms drive their kids to horse-riding lessons and never think of saddling up themselves. Horseback riding can be a GREAT workout, as you’ll find out the day after you try it!

A family that plays together will get fit together. Set up the volleyball net or some bases in the back yard. A Saturday afternoon game of volleyball, kickball, or baseball is an activity that the entire family can participate in. Invite neighborhood kids to play as well. If everyone pitches in at dinnertime, there will be ample time to enjoy an activity with the kids. Teamwork goes a long way.

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