Getting the Family Into Fitness

Across the country, more and more families are embracing exercise. In addition to the physical and mental benefits of routine exercise, an added and often overlooked benefit of exercise is it's free. In light of the country's ongoing economic woes, it's no surprise so many families are reconnecting with exercise to help improve their quality of life while saving some money in the process.

As popular as exercise has become over the last decade, many parents are still struggling to get their kids or even their spouses to embrace regular exercise. Unfortunately, a jog every two or three weeks or walking into the pizzeria from a car instead of getting delivery doesn't qualify as meaningful exercise. For parents hoping to get their hubby and kids off the couch and out doing some exercise, the following family-friendly activities could prove just the trick.

* Take an exercise-themed road trip. While a week on the ski slopes might be too expensive, a day at the slopes can be affordable depending on where the nearest mountain is. In addition, an activity such as skiing gets the family off the couch while simultaneously working several muscles and providing adequate cardiovascular exercise.

* Take a stroll instead of taking the car. While this can depend on the weather, if the weather permits leave the car in the driveway when heading to the grocery store for an item or two or taking the family to the park. This can save gas, provide daily exercise and give families some time to talk and catch up on what's going on in each other's lives.

* Ride bikes. Few activities are as universally enjoyed as a good bike ride. Families can incorporate their love of bikes into their daily routines and not only get sufficient daily exercise but also squeeze in some time doing something they love to do each day.

* Shovel snow or rake the leaves. While these are each seasonal activities, they're also great exercise and give families a great reason to get off the couch and enjoy the great outdoors. When shoveling snow, be careful not overdo it and don't forget to save some time for a family snowball fight.

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