Hula hoops became a hot toy in the late 1950s and are still a lot of fun for families. Hula hooping can burn more than 500 calories an hour — not bad for a $10 piece of plastic! Hoops come in a variety of sizes for children and adults, and weighted hoops for more advanced “hoopers” will give you even more of a workout.
Jumping rope burns an estimated 600 calories an hour. Jump ropes are cheap, starting under $10. Also, because jump ropes are so portable, parents can pack one in their suitcase for workouts while they travel. Who knows — maybe Dad is a future double dutch champion!
Skating and Scooting
Have some old Rollerblades or Razor Scooters hanging out in the garage? You probably forgot how fun some quality time on wheels can be! Dust them off and cruise around the neighborhood or a nearby park with your kids. Kicking along on a scooter is sure to get your heart rate up. And in-line skating burns at least 300 calories an hour for adults. Consider doing a scavenger hunt to keep you moving.
Your family loves singing along with the radio in the car. Why not dance along to the music when you’re at home? Having a family dance party lets parents and kids get silly while also getting some good cardio exercise. Hip hop dancing can burn about 400 calories an hour, so turn up the beats indoors or outside!
Frisbee has a cult following, with hundreds of colleges now offering “ultimate Frisbee” (a Frisbee game similar to soccer) as a school sport. Your family could be full of Frisbee champs! With plastic discs starting at $5, it’s worth a try. Frisbee golf is another fun disc game.
Walking — or Hiking — the Dog
What has fur, four legs, and is dying to be your exercise pal? That’s right: the family dog. Studies have shown that owning a dog can make you healthier, in part because you’re likely to take more walks. But if your daily walks have become more like a chore, infuse some fun as well as fitness. Go as a family, pick different routes each night, and throw in some jogging. And consider taking the occasional hike with Fido, too, for an even better workout.
Just as kids love rec time during the school day, they’ll enjoy romping around the playground when school is out of session. When is the last time Dad tried his hand at crossing the monkey bars or doing some pull-ups? And when was Mom last on the swings, pumping her legs to get sky-high? Playgrounds offer fun physical activity for everyone — even if you’re just chasing the kids around.
Tag, You’re It, and Other Outdoor Games
Tag, kickball, wiffle ball, kickball… you name it! Neighborhood games may be waning in the digital age, but they’re as fun as ever and hopefully due for a comeback. Challenge your family members to some friendly competition, and enjoy the great outdoors like it’s the good ol’ days.