A Backyard Fitness Centre
Jane Blanchard provides an overview of the five ways to turn your backyard into a fitness oasis for your child.
The days of watching the kids ride off into the neighbourhood on their bikes are largely gone. Most of today's parents want to have their children within sight all day long. This safety concept takes away some of the exercise kids used to have as they returned at sunset for dinner, however. Keep the kids in shape and safely in the backyard with some of these fitness oasis ideas. From inexpensive to investment-worthy, these exercise strategies will fit almost any budget.
Break out the Trampoline
Try not to scoff at this idea — trampolines are safer now than they have ever been thanks to higher safety standards. Install the model with the strong netting surrounding the perimeter. The kids will be safely inside, falling against the net instead of the ground. Encourage them to jump and frolic. The jumping action is actually a great exercise for the legs, core and arms. So much fun, you actually may not be able to get them inside for lunch. Just be sure to match the trampoline's specifications with your children's sizes for the safest exercise.
Build that Innovative Jungle Gym
Jungle gyms are no longer those metal contraptions meant to rust away. Look for the colourful plastic types with almost countless configurations. These jungle gyms exercise almost all body parts, from running upstairs to pulling the body up on horizontal bars. You may want to install sand or a cushioned ground cover under the jungle gym to keep everyone playing safely. The adults may find themselves trying a pull-up or two.
Install a Backstop
If you have the space, try installing an actual backstop. You don't have to have a regulation baseball backstop, but one large enough to catch some practice balls. Encourage the kids to practice T-ball, baseball, kickball or other free ball activities. The backstop will save the home from any damage and please the neighbours with no equipment lost to their yard. It even makes a unique statement if you plan on selling the home in the near future.
Invest in a Pool
Adding a swimming pool is probably one of the best ways to inject fitness into the entire family. If you can't afford an in-ground pool, take a look at above-ground models. They come in all shapes and sizes along with varying prices. Choose one that fits your family and install it in the spring. Instead of sitting in front of the TV all summer, the kids can exercise in the pool for hours on end.
Offer the Basics from Your Childhood
To create that fitness oasis on a limited budget, bring out some old-fashioned relics from your childhood. Offer jump ropes, big balls and chalk to the kids. Create different fitness "stations" with each item as the main attraction. Draw a hopscotch on the ground, sing jump rope songs and throw the ball around. Fitness simply requires activity and fun playing together.
It is true the kids will grow tired of some of these ideas after a while, so mix them up each weekend. Spearhead a scavenger hunt or game in the backyard so the jungle gym does not get too monotonous. When a family plays together, everyone gets in shape while rejuvenating the space around them. Who is ready for some fun?
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About the Author
Jane Blanchard is a writer who enjoys doing DIY projects with her kids, fitness and hanging out with her family. Jane writes for Modernize.
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