We all know exercise is good for us, but plenty of us don’t exercise as much as we should. Besides having a busy schedule, one of the most common reasons for lack of exercise is boredom. Luckily, there are loads of ways to make physical activity fun for you and your family.
Jump on a Trampoline
Kids adore trampolines, and if adults are willing to be honest, they love them, too. All of that bouncing around can burn about 200 calories per hour. If you engage in a scripted fitness routine designed specifically for exercise on a trampoline, it can be even more. A 15-foot trampoline can cost around $270. If you’re worried about your kids falling off and getting injured, you can invest in a safety net, which will bring your total cost up to about $400.
Install Some Pull-Up Bars
Pull-up bars are easy to install and simple to use. You can build them yourself or you can purchase a set of already-made pull-up bars from a manufacturer for about $600. Pull-ups are excellent to tone and strengthen your upper body, chest, back and arms. One pull-up burns about one calorie, which doesn’t sound like much, but over time the increase in muscle will cause you to burn off more calories overall.
Build an Obstacle Course
You can create your own obstacle course from used or discarded items fairly cheaply. You can use old tires, boards for balancing, bricks or pavers, hula hoops, cones, kiddie pools or other items to tailor your obstacle course to meet your family’s needs and interests.
To make it a family affair, you can keep track of times and encourage everyone to beat his or her personal best, or make it a competition between family members to see who can complete the course in the shortest amount of time. The cost and calories burned will depend on what kind of items you use. However, it is pretty certain that your home-made obstacle course will improve your cardiovascular health, balance, agility and alertness over time. To keep things interesting, add and change different parts of the obstacle course so it doesn’t become too easy or boring.
Do Some Climbing
Kids naturally love to climb trees. But if you don’t have tall enough — or safe enough — trees to climb, there are other alternatives. A knotted climbing rope is probably the simplest thing you can install. Another option is a rope ladder. These come in various lengths, usually 18, 24 and 36 feet, and can cost anywhere between $70 and $300 to install.
If you want to go all out in encouraging your family to exercise by climbing, you can invest in a back yard rock climbing wall. These can cost anywhere from $500 to over $1,000. Climbing is great exercise and, depending on what kind of structure you are climbing, can help you burn over 500 calories per hour. It also helps tone and strengthen muscles in the core, back, legs and arms.
Plant a Garden
Maybe “real” exercise isn’t your thing, but there are still plenty of ways to get physical activity into your day. Gardening is a very satisfying and rewarding hobby that, believe it or not, is also a lot of work. A 150-pound person can burn up to 272 calories in just one hour working in a garden — watering, weeding, raking and so on. Also, the other side of the fitness coin besides exercise is a healthy diet, and you can grow your own healthy food in your own back yard. Tomatoes, kale, squash and radishes are all great choices for a beginning gardener. You’ll even save money on your grocery bill.
So what are you waiting for? Find an activity you and your whole family will love and get started taking care of your health.