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Sneaking In Fitness

We all know how important exercise is for kids – and how little of it they sometimes get.  Children and adolescents should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. With the busy schedules we keep though, you may be wondering just how to make that happen. Don’t worry – here’s some tips to help take the “work” out of “working out” with fun ideas for adding physical activity to your family’s routine.

Got fifteen extra minutes?

  • Get everyone fired up in the morning with a quick dance party. Let your children take turns choosing the soundtrack.
  • Play to your kids’ competitive nature. Children love to be timed. See how fast or how long it takes them to complete a task.
  • Have a dog? Ask your teen to assume responsibility for Fido’s morning walk.
  • Enjoy some fresh air. Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids by Rebecca Cohen is packed with quick, simple ways to engage with the outdoors year round.
  • Need to get somewhere that’s close? Try walking, biking, scootering or roller blading there. If you must drive, park a short distance away from your destination to sneak in some extra steps.

Got an extra hour?

  • Try some new games with the neighborhood crowd. PBS Kids offers a huge list of suggestions at Zoom Games. Choose from “Clothespin Tag,” “3 Ball Football,” “Crab Soccer” and many more.
  • Take a long stroll around your neighborhood or local park. Make the route more interesting by listening for bird calls, identifying flowers and trees or looking for insects.
  • Swap out your regular evening routine for a night of jumping around. BounceU in Fishers hosts a weekly “Family Bounce Night” on Wednesdays from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. You’ll pay $8.95 for the first child and $7.95 for each additional child, but adults jump for free.
  • Use TV time to incorporate movement. Havekids stretch their muscles during their favorite show and using commercial breaks to do jumping jacks or other exercise.
  • Find out whatever your kids enjoy doing and do more of it. Find a common interest that everyone can look forward to.

Got a whole day?

  • Explore the canal downtown with your kids. If a leisurely three-mile walk isn’t your family’s speed, rent a surrey bike or pedal boat instead.
  • Take a road trip to one of Indiana’s great state parks. Hike the trails at Brown County State Park, visit the historic buildings at Spring Mill State Park and check out the aquatic center at Prophetstown State Park. Start the search for your perfect park at www.in.gov/dnr/parklake.
  • Sign up to walk or run a charity 5K or 10K as a family. Even before race day rolls around, you should log plenty of active family time preparing for the big day. You’ll find literally hundreds of area events listed at www.runningintheusa.com.
  • Head to Climb Time Indy for a fun and challenging indoor rock climbing workout. If you’re new to the sport, don’t worry, you’ll be trained in the basics before you snap on your gear.
  • Get some exercise while learning about your hometown. ActiveIndy Tours welcomes kids on its guided walking tours, which span approximately two miles. The company recommends its White River State Park & Central Canal itinerary for younger children, but several different routes are available. On a budget? Check out the free self-guided audio tours available at www.walkindianapolis.com.

This list is just a starting point – the Indianapolis area offers practically endless opportunities for residents seeking an active lifestyle. Make your own favorites list of the physical activities your family enjoys most and pretty soon you won’t have to “sneak” fitness in at all!

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