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Keeping Fit is Child’s Play

by Mary Cook

Do you feel fit for nothing? Gym subscriptions and gym equipment are beyond the budget of many people. It’s possible to get fit, if not for nothing, certainly for next to nothing. As you’re about to discover, exercise is child’s play.

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If you told your children they should take exercise, they’d be pretty hostile to the idea. The truth is they exercise for a lot of the time without knowing it. They call it play. That’s something grownups can do too.

Skipping rope

Buy or borrow from your kids a simple skipping rope. If skipping is used as a method to train champion boxers, it ought to be good enough for you. The beauty of skipping is that you can do it anywhere at any time – well, perhaps not in the bathroom, but you get my meaning.

As a high-impact exercise, skipping strengthens bones and will also trim hips, thighs and buttocks.

You can burn between 70 and 110 extra calories with just 10 minutes’ vigorous skipping. It’s a good cardiovascular exercise, improving heart and lung fitness, as well as increasing your flexibility.

Hula hoop

This is one instance where you may have to lay out a little cash. Your kids’ hula hoop may be okay for an entry level workout, but you need a full-size, weighted, grown up hoop to get the full benefit. You can select the size you need by standing a hoop upright. It should reach somewhere between your chest and your stomach to be a good fit.

Using your body to twirl the hoop will shape your abdominal muscles and improve your posture and flexibility. Great for cardiovascular fitness, it can be used to provide a full body workout.

Hop skip and jump

Have you noticed how children seldom just walk anywhere but progress in a series of hops skips and jumps? Much of the time they’re avoiding the cracks in the sidewalk so that the bears don’t catch them. Maybe you should try it. After all, you don’t know for certain the bears aren’t lying in wait for you too.

Avoiding the bears improves flexibility, as well as heart and lung fitness.


Take your kids to the park and push them on the swings. It’s a good workout for your arms – right? Now sit on the swing yourself. I promise I won’t tell anyone you’re over age. Now use your legs to propel yourself as high as you can go. As well as working on your leg muscles, it’s so exhilarating you can’t help but find it’s a good cardiovascular workout.


Borrow a kids’ scooter and propel yourself around your yard. Make sure you use both feet. No, not at the same time! You need to alternate so that both legs get a workout. You don’t want to end up with one leg like a broomstick and the other like a skittle.

Throw ball (piggy in the middle)

Play piggy in the middle with two kids. It’s likely you’ll be the tallest person there, so jumping to intercept the ball as they throw it backwards and forwards to each other won’t be too strenuous, but it will improve your flexibility. A high impact exercise, it will also build strong bones and overall is a good cardiovascular exercise.


There’s nothing like a good kick-about to improve your fitness. It uses more muscles than you knew you had. After a few sessions with a soccer ball and a couple of energetic kids you’ll be fitter and trimmer than you ever thought possible.

The world is your playground.

Gym bunnies can hop it.

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Note: As always, please consult your physician before beginning any new fitness regimen.

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Copyright © 2016 by Mary Cook. All rights reserved.

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