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8 fun kid activities to get you fit

Research shows that everyday activity is every bit as effective as "exercise" in helping you get fit and lose weight. Get in shape this summer by embracing your inner child and having some fun outdoors

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hulahoop fitness

Hula-hooping

Hula hooping isn’t just funny and fun; it engages your abs for beautiful belly toning. Marisa Tomei even credits hooping with getting her in shape for her role as a stripper in the movie The Wrestler. In one study, vigorous hooping with a weighted hoop raised testers’ heart rates enough to scorch 110 calories in 10 minutes-as much as running a mile.

Hint: Use a full-sized hoop. Using a kid’s hoop will make it much harder. For even better results, you can buy a weighted hoop (which is actually easier to keep up-from eBay (just do a search for “weighted hoop”). Shift your weight back and forth to keep the hoop moving.

Tip: If you get tired of hula-hooping the regular way, try “skipping” with your hula hoop (this works better with a smaller hoop). Place the hoop on the ground with one foot inside and one foot outside. Swing the hoop around with the inside foot and jump over it as it comes around with the outside foot. Practice makes perfect!

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jump rope

Skipping

Jumping rope burns as many calories per minute as running a 9-minute mile, and you don’t need to find a sitter to do it. If you haven’t jumped rope since grade school, it’ll be a little harder than you remember. This mini routine will get you back in the swing of things. Do each exercise for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times. As you get fitter, try extending the amount of time in each phase.

Double-leg jumps

Jump with both feet simultaneously, jumping one time just high enough to clear the rope every time it comes around.

Two-foot double hops

Jump with both feet simultaneously, adding a second mini hop as the rope is swinging overhead.

Single-leg hops

Lift one foot off the ground and hop over the rope three times with the grounded foot. Switch sides and repeat. Continue alternating.

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tired runner

Playing tag

Running, laughing, engaging your kids-what’s not to love about this classic summertime favourite? For even more challenge, try Freeze Tag. When a player is tagged, they have to stand motionless in place. If another player touched them they can be unfrozen. The game ends when everyone has been frozen.

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running up stairs

Flashdance

Get your groove on! Stand in front of your front step and step up with your right foot, immediately followed by your left foot, then back down again as quickly as you can (a la Jennifer Beals in Flashdance) for 20 to 60 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Work your way up to 2 minutes.

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basketball fitness sport

Play ball

Basketball builds bones, improves coordination and burns about 200 calories in 30 minutes. Make your own driveway half court and shoot hoops with the whole family. When you’re done with one-on-one or two-on-two, try various games. For instance, using chalk or tape, mark 10 different spots from which players have to take shots, and assign each spot a point value (the harder the shot, the higher the value). Each player gets 10 shots and can take them from anywhere on the court. The person with the most points wins.

Tip: Terrible shot? Avoid the hoop altogether with this drill: Stand eight to 10 feet apart from a partner and quickly toss the ball back and forth, jumping up every time you catch the ball.

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woman with hose

Garden-hose limbo

This one’s great fun on a hot summer day when the lawn needs watering and the kids need cooling off.

One person is appointed to hold the hose; the others line up. The hose-holder shoots a stream of water at shoulder level. The rest of the players limbo under it, and anyone who touches the water is out.

As with traditional limbo, the stream is lowered each round until there’s only one player left: the winner!

Move around on the grass so that no one area of the lawn gets soaked.

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beach yoga meditation

Beach-blanket yoga

Stretch out in the sun with this feel-good move. Most women are tight through the hips and glutes from hours spent at a desk or behind the wheel of a car. This yoga move, known as The Pigeon, stretches and opens your hips, so you stand straighter and walk stronger just in time for those long summer strolls.

Pigeon Pose

Start in a squatting position, hands on the ground in front of you. Leaning onto your left leg, stretch your right leg backwards until your right knee is on the ground with your right leg fully extended behind you. Bring your left foot forward, so your left heel is tucked up against your right hip. Your left shin should be facing forward with your left thigh on the ground with your knee pointing to the left. With your arms together, lean forward, and place your palms down on the floor in front of you. Hold 30 seconds. Release. Switch legs.

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water balloon

Water balloon frog toss

This one’s a great way to tone your legs while having a blast. Fill a bucket with water balloons and place it between the players (if there are more than two players, make a circle and put the bucket in the centre). Each player takes a water balloon and stands about 10 feet away from the other players. Holding the balloon with both hands, squat down like a frog ready to leap, then on the count of 3, everyone springs up and tosses their balloon to the person directly across from them. When you catch your balloon, immediately crouch down and repeat as quickly as you can, keeping the balloons from breaking. If you miss a balloon or your balloon breaks, you need to dash to the bucket and grab a new one. The person who breaks the least number of balloons wins.

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