When you a kid, you clambered up jungle gyms, played tag and jumped rope. Your heart pounded and your muscles pumped, but the word “cardio” or “strength-training” never entered your vocabulary. You were simply “playing.”

Here’s how to bring that lighthearted element back to your fitness routine. Do these activities solo — or with your own kids for some healthy family time.

Jump rope

Ten minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to 30 minutes of jogging. That’s a big reward for a small commitment.

Go one-on-one

Can’t get to a playground or basketball court? No problem. Hang an mini basketball hoop inside over a door or use a household bucket or box to get a slam dunk every time. Chasing the ball will boost your heart rate.

Play tag

All you need is space to run.


Grab a piece of chalk and a rock, and you’re on your way to improving your balance.


Hula-hooping can burn as many calories as swing-dancing—between 165 and 200 during a 30-minute session. It strengthens core muscles, works your lower body and builds balance.


Remember when you boogied to the latest Top 40 tune? There’s no reason to stop. Just tell Alexa what to play.

Compete with your kids

Have a bear crawl race across the room. Put your hands and feet on the floor and arch your back like a bear. Then crab walk back. Sit on the floor with your arms behind you, palms down and fingers facing your hips. Lift your hips, tighten your abs and begin walking on your hands and feet, belly up. You’ll work your triceps, shoulders and abs.