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Turn Playtime into a Calorie-Burning Success

Posted on Saturday, April 21st, 2012 at 3:21 pm under Play Hard.
kids at play on beach

Courtesy of Mike Baird

As the weather heats up, we know one thing is coming: summer break. Kids love outdoors activities in the summer, but they love it even more when you join them. Rather than sending them outside to romp around, get out there and play. Not only is it good for the soul, but also your heart health and metabolism. Try these activities with your kids and get in the fat burning zone.

Tag, Your It!
Ever want to feel totally out of shape? Play a game of tag with your kids. If you think about it, tag is basically short bursts of sprinting (followed by long waves of heavy panting). In a 30-minute game of tag you can burn a good amount of calories and get that heart rate ramped up. Hopefully lots of laughing will ensue as well.

If you kids are really little, run butterfly patterns in the field rather than playing tag. Designate someone as the leader, and have her run around in various patterns. Then everyone else just follows suit.

Adventure Time
Next time you go out for a bike ride or walk, turn it into an adventure. Have your kids draw up a map of some kind. Find the lost kingdom, rocket to Pluto, or search for dinosaur bones.

Once your map is planned, head out on your excursion. This works well for walking, biking, or whatever mode of transportation your kids love. When you have an action plan, then you lose track of time and don’t realize how much you’re exercising. What was going to be a short 10-minute walk could very well turn into a 45-minute cardio session.

Obstacles in The Way
Homemade obstacles courses are a great way to beat the summer boredom. Set up tunnels, slip and slides, hoops to jump through, sticks to weave around, and small pools to jump over. Then get out the timer and see who completes the course fastest.

Dance the Night Away
Beat the bedtime battle by hosting your own dance parties. After dinner, set up a disco on your patio and crank up the tunes. For even more laughs, play a game of freeze dance. It’s not as easy to stop moving as it looks. Have someone in charge stop the music at random times. Everyone has to freeze when the music stops. I guarantee you will get a good abdominal workout from all of the giggles. Burning off the extra energy before bed will help your kids fall asleep and give your metabolism an extra kick.

The Big Question:
Got a favorite activity to do with your kids that helps burn those calories? Share it below in the comments! 

Further Resources:

Family Fun- Summer Games

Parentdish- Creative Summer Games

Livestrong- What Cardio Workouts Burn the Most Calories? 

  • Lia Becas Jacobsen

    The Grandkids, Sara and I turn up the music and we dance, dance dance!! We also blow bubbles and chase them to see who pops more more of them :)