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A Little Fitness Can Go a LONG Way!
by Kim Green-Spangler
Did you know that January is Family Fitness month? As a Stay At Home Mom it's easy to get caught in a rut with so much to accomplish each day. But truth be told, fitness is an important part of everyday living for each member of the family. So, if the extent of your fitness routine is carrying the baby, lifting laundry, or hauling around the vacuum cleaner - relax, there are a multitude of fun ways to incorporate a steady diet of fitness into the family mix.

Crank it up!

Turn on the tunes! There is no better way to speed up the time it takes to get through monotonous chores AND put a little groove into your moves than by turning on the stereo. The faster the music, the quicker you'll fly through the work, and your little ones will love bopping along behind you. Who knows you may even invent the next new dance craze! But rest assured - the time will go faster, the laughter will be plentiful and the calories will start melting away.

Schedule it - Inside!

Include regular morning, afternoon or evening workouts. When stuck inside don't despair. Pop in an exercise video or DVD to get the masses moving. Children love to move. Just try making one sit still for any length of time and it seems impossible! So, give them permission and a little guidance by finding a workout that will challenge you, while helping them burn up some of that seemingly never-ending supply of energy. You'll probably also find that when you're ready to collapse, they provide awesome motivation to continue. Would you want everyone to know that mom/dad couldn't complete their exercises? And you can rest-assured that if you didn't, the truth would be told - over and over again to everyone who crossed their paths! Note, if exercising in the afternoon or evening, just remember that exercises should not be performed more than 3 hours before trying to rest. The body needs time to get back to a relaxed enough state.

Turn it loose - Outside!

Get moving as a family and take it on the road. Or better yet, add a few friends to the adventure. Grab a mom friend and get those strollers lubed-up or toddlers out toddling for a friendly brisk walk (as brisk as their little legs can manage) and a little girl-chat! Who says exercise can't be fun and entertaining. Or round up the kids for a little hike through a nature trail. All of the walking and climbing is bound to give you a little more definition in the calves and walking is often touted to be one of the best total body forms of exercise. Besides, you may even collect some treasures for keeping, or something for a fun craft project at home.

Make it an Extra Special treat!

Select an activity that the entire family enjoys. Even better, make it a seasonal one so that there's always something fresh to look forward to. Examples of some seasonal fare are: skiing during the winter, roller-blading during the spring, or swimming and/or surfing during summer. No matter where you live there is bound to be activities that you do not get the chance to participate in as a family very often. You can make 2006 the year where family fitness takes priority. The family who exercises together stays healthy together and January is a great place to start.

Exercise does not have to be difficult. With a different mind-set it can even be fun. Does jumping in a pile of leaves sound like hard work? It's not! But raking the yard is the first step to get that huge pay-off at the end. Do you know of any young children who would willingly pass up an opportunity to spend some time playing in the leaves!

All it takes is a little imagination and just a bit of inertia. After you all find out how much fun it is, it will easily become part of your daily family routine.

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