Exercise can be fun – Part 1

Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Consider these fun suggestions to making exercise exciting.

Young children tend to find excitement and fun in common experiences. For example, a 2-year-old can play all afternoon with a set of pots and pans or a large cardboard box. So how can we relate the youthful innocence and excitement of young children playing to exercise? We have to make exercise fun, like play!

At some point in life, it seems as if we transition from children having fun with exercise to adults who despise exercise and look at it like a chore. Since children model what they see, maybe adults can take some notes from children and remember how to make exercise fun.

Here is a list of possible indoor and outdoor activities that children and families can do to remember that excise can be fun.

  • Dancing. You can select the intensity with dancing. There are some dances that may have a lot of cardio like aerobics, and other that have less impact like line dancing. Some dances may break a sweat and others are more leisure, but all dancing styles burn calories and are a form of exercise.
  • Walking. If you don’t feel like exercising, consider taking a walk. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to walk at a slower pace and you are still doing more compared to sitting on the couch. Walking is one of the best ways to get moving even if you don’t feel like doing much.
  • Swimming. Swimming is a great exercise where you don’t have to be an expert. If you are not a big swimmer, you can still wade, splash or try water aerobics.
  • Hiking. The next time you have an open day on a weekend and don’t want to spend it indoors, get your family together and go for a hike. You’ll get some fresh air while enjoying the sites. For an added bonus, pack a healthy picnic for everyone to enjoy.

Try these options out as a family or challenge yourself to create your own list of fun exercise activities. More fun exercise and fitness options can be found at “17 Things That Don’t Feel Like Exercise (But Actually Are)” from 12 Minute Athlete. Also, Michigan 4-H offers healthy living activities sheets that can be used with your clubs, groups or families.

To learn about the positive impact children and families are experiencing due to Michigan State University Extension programs, read our 2015 Impact Reports: “Preparing young children for success” and “Preparing the future generation for success.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2015, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.

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