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Originally published Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 6:15 AM

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6 ways to move your fitness routine out of the gym

Spring is the perfect time to get out of the gym and get your exercise outdoors. Fitness columnist Kelly Turner tells you how.


Special to The Seattle Times

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When the sun starts shining, it can be tough to drag yourself into a dimly lit gym for a workout. It can also be just as tough to get the kids out of their dimly lit rooms, off their butts and into the light of day. Get in your workout and spend quality time with your whole family by planning active activities everyone will love.

Let’s play!

Hit a local playground. While the kids are climbing and swinging away, you can get a more structured workout using the same equipment. Use the monkey bars for pullups or hang by your knees and do crunches, run up the slide to target your legs (beware of traffic coming down), climb ropes and mix in pushups and lunges to hit the whole body.

Take a hike!

Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails with your whole gang. Bring plenty of water, healthful snacks for fuel and a camera to capture all the memories you’ll make. Before you know it, the sun will be setting, and you’ll have miles under your belts and smiles on your faces.

Pedal power!

Biking is great because you can easily cover long distances, even with little ones, while soaking in the sun and sights. Get the family together, strap on your helmets and tour your own town. If you ride on streets, place one adult at the front of the pack and one at the back to keep the kids together and safe. If you’re solo, ride in the rear to keep an eye on everyone.

Splash around!

Swimming is a fun, full-body workout everyone can get in on. A few hours is enough to wipe anyone out, but if you’re looking for extra calorie burn, swim laps, race or see who can tread water the longest without touching the bottom.

Off to the races!

A little friendly competition can keep things interesting. Set up relay races in your yard using things you have on hand: hula hoops, jump ropes, balls, anything! Winner gets a healthy treat.

Get organized!

If you have a big brood, you can divide up and play team sports like basketball, kickball and soccer. Working together while working up a sweat is a great way to teach essential life skills in between all the panting and cheering.

The most important thing parents can do is set a healthy example for their children. If your kids see fitness as an enjoyable family affair, they will have an easier time keeping that exercise habit as they grow into adults. So make it effective, but more importantly, make it fun!

Kelly Turner is a freelance fitness writer. Follow her on Twitter @KellyTurnerFit.



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