Today's generation has more computerized and physically inactive forms of
entertainment than ever before. We, as parents, must be the catalyst that
motivates our children to exercise - plus it is not bad for us to exercise
either. The earlier we introduce our children to a lifestyle of health and
fitness, the less likely our children will grow to be part of the 60 percent
(and growing - literally) of America that is obese. Researches have stated
that childhood obesity is completely preventable, but almost entirely
It does not take a bench press and a stair machine to get fit. All you need
is a playground and a little imagination. Here are some imaginative ways to
exercise while watching your kids without spending a dime! This workout is
the easiest and least time consuming way to combine family and exercise.
Now - get outside and set the example for your children. Let them see how
important it is to get away from the television set and go outside to
exercise / play. Here is a way to get the daily exercise you need for your
health and the daily bonding your kids need.
Here's how you do it ... The first two exercises are standard exercises that
can be done in the living room right before you go to the playground with
1) Pushups - with your hands shoulder width apart, place your
palms on the ground, keeping your feet together and back straight. Push your
body up until your arms are straight. Touch your chest to the ground each
repetition. Try to do as many pushup as you can on your toes, then resort to
knee pushups until exhaustion. Rest with 25-50 crunches (next exercise) and
2) Crunches - Lay on your back with your legs in the air and
bent at the knees, forming a 90 degree angle with your knees. Bring your
elbows to your knees.
3) Bench Dips - Place your hands on the edge of your seat,
legs extended in front of you while sitting. Lower yourself as close to the
floor as possible. Now, straighten your arms and lift yourself back to your
seat and repeat.
4) Monkey-bar Pullups - With hands at shoulder width, grab the
bar and pull yourself up so your chin is lifted above the bar. Hold yourself
above the bar for a second and let yourself down slowly.
5) Squat/Shoulder press - Bend at the knees, with your back
straight. Pick up your child and lift him over your head. Grab your child
and lift him/her to the monkey bars or another elevated position.
6) Swing set Squats - While pushing your child in the swing,
squat in between each push of your child. With your feet at shoulder width
apart and back straight, lower and raise yourself by bending the legs,
forming a 90 degree angle with your knees.
7) Hanging Knee-ups - Hang on a pullup bar, as if you were
performing a pullup. Pull your knees as high as you can, trying to roll your
knees into your chest.
8) *Running/walking - push your child in a stroller or let
him/her ride in a bike with you as you walk or run. Sign up to run / walk a
race - maybe a 5k or a 10k. Go to
to find an activity near where you live.
Realize this: You are doing your kids a dual service by
creating a time and place for fitness. Of course, you know the better shape
you are in will lead to a healthier and longer life. You will be able to
enjoy your children, grandchildren, and maybe even great-grandchildren IF
you start taking better care of yourself and start exercising - NOW. Aside
from being around to see your grandchildren grow, you will be passing down a
legacy of fitness and nutrition to your children, who are being exposed to
more physically inactive forms of entertainment than any time in history.
Good luck with getting creative with your programs. I am offering a
free downloadable guide
with pictures and more ideas for parents with children who are ages 8-18.
These are sports related skills that will help with athletics, as well as
adding fun events to burn calories for you and your kids. Of course, consult
a doctor before starting any program, especially with your kids. Children
can exercise with running, swimming, calisthenics, and lift very light
weights at any age. The rule is not to lift heavy weights until well into
your teenage years (16-19).
Keep the emails coming!
Stew Smith is a
former Navy SEAL and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by
the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He specializes in military
and law enforcement fitness, particularly Special Operations units. Please feel
free to email him at
Stew@stewsmith.com with any comments or questions.