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Four Ways to Get Your Kids Exercising

Did the holidays take your family down a notch on the health scale? Then get up, get moving and help your kids learn healthy habits with these engaging exercises.

While the holidays provide numerous opportunities to bond with family, catch up on reading and movie watching, they are also a time to load up on unhealthy foods and enjoy a more sedentary existence. Kids and adults can back-slide on the healthy scale during the holidays and the New Year is a great time to get up, get out and start exercising again.

We sometimes think that kids stay healthy by running around just being kids, but sometimes they need a little extra help in the exercise department to be on the right health track. Here are some fun ways to incorporate exercise to get your kids moving and shed bad holiday habits.

1. Exercise as a family
If you live in a place where the weather isn't too cold during the early weeks of winter, then get everyone outside and play a game of kickball, take a walk down the street or find a park with a basketball or tennis court.

Here are some other ways to get moving with your family. It doesn't have to be complicated. This list suggests skipping, making an obstacle course in your backyard or even having a dance party in your living room.

2. Find exercises that can be done indoors
Winter is often a time when kids are trapped indoors for days at a time, giving them more of an excuse to lie around, use their electronics and be less active. To get out of the winter time-funk, find some activities that can be done inside.

This mom uses yoga poses (or "snowga" as she calls it) to get her kids moving and engaged in physical fitness. She even calls the poses by fun winter-themed names.

3. Combine exercising and learning
Combining learning and movement can help children comprehend and be able to recall information more accurately if the two are done together. Why not try using the alphabet as a way to get your little ones off the couch and moving their bodies. This mom, from School in the Kitchen, offers an alphabet game that has a corresponding action for every letter. When children choose the letter "A" they are prompted to move their ankles in a circle. When they choose the letter "B" they are prompted to balance on one foot.

4. Involve your child's favorite character
Who better to motivate your children than their favorite characters? Kara from The Joys of Boys created a jar full of exercises (written on popsicle sticks) with the title "Exercise for Energy" to motivate her four young boys to get up and move, even when they were feeling sluggish. A square-jawed superhero adorns the outside of the jar with words like "Bam!" and "Pow!" surrounding the caped crusader. What little boy wouldn't want to explore what was inside?

And if your children are fans of the Dr. Seuss books, then check out these exercises that not only promote fun fitness, but will also get your kids thinking more deeply about characterization and plot. It's a win-win.

No matter how you motivate your little ones to exercise, it's important to get them moving at an early age so they continue to make healthy choices as they grow.

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About the Author

Jessa McClure

Jessa McClure

Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects. 

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