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Winter family workouts

I am a freelance journalist dedicated to travelling and keeping fit and healthy. A tragic (but proud) cat lady, I believe in the importance of staying strong, active and healthy in the most practical ways possible. I’m also committed to laughing every day, even if that means at myself…which is usually the case. Robyn Box

Winter is well and truly here, and between hiding under the doona, making hearty stews and complaining because "it's raaaaaining. It's always raaaaiining! I hate winter!' we're not getting out and exercising in the fresh air as much as we would like. And worse still, the kids aren’t either. Sure, they have their weekly sporting activities, but throughout the rest of the week it’s too cold and too wet to venture outside and get rid of that excess energy they build up throughout the day. Except in the bath wheree they're practicing for the Olympics, of course.

The extra time cooped up inside with the kidlets also means less time for ourselves, and sometimes less time for fitness. Plus you would be forgiven if you were also shying away from heading outside for a walk in the freezing cold.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) says around six out of ten Australian adults aren’t getting enough exercise, which begs the question: what example are we setting the kids? And in this hideous weather, how can we ensure our family stays fit and healthy without stepping foot outside?

The good news is, some great fitness routines already exist in our homes, and many of us probably never even considered them. And nope, it's not the trusty old 'clean your room or else!’ exercise.

One of the best, and most surprising, ways we can get involved with the kids' exercise habits inside the house is with one of their favourite after school activities: computer games. The Wii, to be specific.

“Wii Dance is probably one of the best workouts you can get at home,” says personal trainer Marcus Johnson. “In fact I often recommend my clients join the kids on the Wii. It’s great for cardio and calorie burning”. 
   
If computer games aren’t your thing, another incredibly simple way to get the family moving is through using tried and true birthday party activities and integrating them into the weekly fun fest.

A great one is the ‘balloon bonanza’, where you tie a balloon to everyone’s ankle with the aim of the game being to pop each other’s balloon first. Winner takes all the glory and bragging rights. You’ll need at least four people to pay it well, but somehow I don’t think you’ll have any trouble finding volunteers, and after about 10 minutes of chasing each other through the house it might be in your best interest to let one of the kids win.

Another great workout is something we mentioned a few weeks ago in an article on housework workouts, where we found making bread or pizza dough or anything that requires whisking is actually a great mini workout. So who not get the kids involved in the kitchen, and get them to do the hard work? Have a whisking or kneading competition, or better yet hand the reins over to them to whisk egg whites into a meringue while you add the sugar. It’s not only a fantastic workout, but they’ll have something to take to school as a class treat the next day.

The wonderful thing about these activities is that it keeps us moving and encourages our children to lead active lifestyles. But it’s also a beautiful way to bond with the kids, all the while sneaking in a few giggles here and there. What more could you want?

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