Belly dancing and other family exercises to do at home


Fun exercises for kids, that will help to keep the whole family feeling fit – while having fun at the same time!  

The best thing is that you can exercise at home, meaning it has never been easier and with so many family exercise ideas to choose from, why not do pilates at home in your lounge or even give belly dancing a go for something a bit different.

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With so many sports off the cards, and limited space at home, it can be difficult to find physical activities for kids to do. Even once you do, the chances are that they might bore of them quickly. Try our tips for exercise at home with kids that will let them – and you! – have fun while you stay fit…

1. Doing planks can be fun!

This core strengthening move is deceptively simple, but is a great one to do indoors as you don’t need much space or any equipment. Lie on your front on the floor, then raise your body so that only the tips of your toes and your hands or forearms are on the floor, keeping your back straight. Hold this position for one minute, then repeat.

As doing planks is quite a solitary activity, you can take it in turns timing each other to keep everyone engaged. You can introduce variations too, like taking an arm or foot off the floor or twisting to one side to make it harder. The kids will love it if they can sit on your back while you do it – although that does make it a much harder workout for you!

2. Running exercises for the whole family

Shuttle runs are a great way to burn off energy, and you can make it more of a running everyday game to keep it fun for the kids. Mark out the running exercise distance – maybe one end of the garden to the other, or across the width of the kitchen. If there are four or more of you, you can split into teams to race each other.

If not, take it in turns to time each other – the person who can do the most shuttle runs in a minute wins! Try to do some kind of running everyday if you can to get your heart rate up and allow your kids to let off some steam.

3. Belly dancing

Let’s face it, one of the easiest and most fun ways to exercise is to whack the music up and dance your heart out. To mix it up a bit, try a different form of dancing so you can learn some new moves, work different parts of your body and hear different music. Belly dancing can be good for you in so many ways from improving your strength, coordination and balance, along with your digestion and confidence, not to mention it’s fun! Try this NHS Belly Dancing exercise video.

4. Circuit training for you and your kids

Set up a course of circuits with 6-8 activities that you can do for a minute each, before moving on to the next. These could be star jumps, burpees, lunges, knee ups – or anything else that gets the heart pumping. It is a great way to work on both your cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength at the same time.  Prepare for a whole body workout and with little to no rest between stations, you’re bound to feel it but for all the right reasons!  Depending on space, you can all do the same activity together in a group, or at different times.

5. Skipping rope exercises

You might want to avoid doing this skipping rope exercise indoors, especially if you have low ceilings, but simple old skipping has loads of health benefits. It can increase heart and lung fitness, as well as strengthening bones and improving balance and flexibility. Kids or adults can do this alone, or two of you can hold one end of the rope each while one jumps in the middle. Seeing as skipping only requires you to have minimal equipment and space, you can pretty much practice anywhere you want.  Grab a skipping rope, some trainers and a cushioned surface and hop to it!

6. Arm exercises with weights

You don’t need fancy weights to tone up, you can make do with what you have to try out arm exercise at home. Older kids and adults can use tins of beans (or whatever else you have in the cupboard!) as weights. For littler ones, fill mini juice or water bottles with water or sand – they should be easier to hold, but make sure the lid is on properly!  Arm exercises at home can be fun - get creative!

You can do arm exercises with weights by doing bicep curls, and to move your arms out to the side and above your head. You can also try our Five easy arm exercise.

7. Pilates at home

Doing some regular daily stretches is a great habit for the kids to get into. Pilates can be a good exercise for kids and adults alike, and is great for strengthening muscles. Check out our At home Pilates workoutWhile doing pilates at home can be great for your body, it is also what’s known as a mind-body exercise because of the positive effects it can have on your mind.  Stretching and putting an emphasis on breathing techniques can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance concentration and focus in all aspects of your life.

Still looking for more inspiration for exercise at home? There are tons of tutorials online with physical activities for kids. Check out the NHS indoor activities and these BBC workout videos with Team GB Olympians.

What are your favourite ways to stay fit as a family?