By Denis Faye

Just finished your latest round of P90X®? Ready for a little break from TurboFire®? Looking for the next big trend in exercise?

I’m here to tell you all about it: they’re small, they’re fun, and they’re a never-ending source of energy. Many of us already have them in our homes and, heck, we invest so much time, effort, and money in them, why not use them to get in shape?

That’s right, I’m talking about kids. Yes, kids! You’re looking for a fun way to get fit. They’re looking for a fit way to have fun. So why not exercise together?

Still not sold? Let’s have a little peek at some of the benefits:

    Lifelong diet and exercise patterns develop at an early age.
    You get Junior out there running around, and you’re giving him a foundation of fitness that’ll influence his life for the better.
  • It’s a family thing. Communication is vital to a family. When I say “exercise,” I’m not suggesting you all hop on treadmills and spend 45 minutes staring straight ahead. I’m talking walks, swims—you know, fun stuff that gives you a chance to chat.
  • Everyone wins. Obesity rates are on the rise the world over. Getting the entire family up and out of the house gets everyone that much more fit.
  • It’s fun! Sure, your kids can be punks sometimes, but they’re your kids, the same silly little goofballs they’ve always been. Laugh it up with them. It’s a great cycle. Exercising together will allow you to have fun together, and having fun together will allow you to exercise together.
  • It’s a chance to nurture. Many things kids do are so beyond their parents. This is a simple chance to be a parent—to offer advice, counsel, or, most importantly, just be a listening ear.
  • It’s a chance to learn. Get active with your kids, and you’ll be able to see their strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this information, you can become a better parent.

Sold yet? I hope so. Now for the next step. You have the kid, you have the motivation. How do you go about it? Here are a few ideas:

  • Find an activity they like. Generally, the parents are going to be a lot more motivated than the kids to hang out together, so let them pick the activity. If you like basketball and they like kickball, too bad for you. Get that kicking leg warmed up!
  • Remember, this is fun. Avoid words like “exercise.” Make the schedule as loose as possible. If it gets unfun after 30 minutes, head home. Better a little bit of fun than a forced march.
    Think outside the envelope.
    When’s the last time you went dancing? Or roller-skating? Or bowling? A read through your community newspaper should offer all kinds of neat options.
  • Turn off the television 1 day a week. That means all day, Mom and Dad, even after the kids hit the sack. When the boob tube is off, you’d be surprised at how much time you suddenly have.
  • Y’all don’t have to be attached at the hip. If you need to jog every day, do it at the local track. Take the kids and let them run around where you can keep an eye on them.
  • Non-exercise exercise. Go to an amusement park. Have a picnic. Play mini-golf. No, you won’t be working towards Lance Armstrong heroics with these activities, but you’ll get exercise and you’ll be a hero to the most important people: your kids.
  • Join them during their playtime. Get out there with the neighborhood kids. When’s the last time you played kick the can? Or tag? Or had a squirt-gun fight? Way too long, my friend.