“EXTRAcise Me”

Who knew improving your family’s health could be so easy?


It’s no surprise how important exercise is for kids’ good health.  What is often referred to as the “obesity epidemic” is just as linked to a sedentary lifestyle (think: video games vs. playing outdoors) as it is to poor diet.  Busy parents themselves are often unable to find time to workout, much less plan time for their kids to exercise. Sure, many kids have scheduled physical activities like dance, soccer, swimming, martial arts, and so on, and some of us do manage to hit the gym or the pavement on a regular basis, but most of us, young and old, could benefit from just a little bit more action throughout our days. With Phys Ed and Recess periods becoming endangered species in schools across the country, our kids are spending more and more time sitting at a desk; all the more reason to find fun and easy ways to up the motion quotient.

With that in mind, here’s a little challenge for your family. “EXTRAcises.”  An EXTRAcise can be anything that briefly gets you going, anytime and anyplace, throughout your day – simple (and sometimes seemingly silly) activities that are easy to work in whenever you have a minute or five.  Here’s a list of suggested EXTRAcises, but you and your kids should feel free to come up with your own ideas and continue to challenging one another.  Pretty much anything physical qualifies, as long as it’s in addition to what you would normally do (or not do!).   Write or print up a list of all the activities (or let the kids make the chart), followed by the names of your family members with little check boxes next to them.  Make a new copy every day (or a great big one that will fit the whole week).  At the end of the week, tally who has done the most EXTRAcising and reward the “winner” in some special way.  Perhaps they get to pick Saturday’s dinner, a family movie, or other outing.

You can increase or decrease the number of “reps” suggested, of course, but the main idea is to keep these fast and easy to do, so you and your kids can always find the time.  Research has shown that all additional movement really does add to your good health and subtract from your waistline.  Plus, it’s kind of addictive; you’ll soon find yourself going out of your way to do a little something EXTRA! (Hmm, “going out of your way.”  That’s EXTRAcising!)

About The Author

Elena Bennett
Elena Bennett writes poems, stories, and songs for both children and adults. Raised in New York City and Cape Cod, she received her B.A. in psychology with a focus on Child Development from Connecticut College. She is also an award-winning singer. Her critically acclaimed big band album, A Wrinkle in Swingtime, is available on iTunes and at many stores online.

2 Responses to “EXTRAcise Me”

  1. hophopscotch74 says:

    good idea

  2. Fremont13 says:

    I love this piece! I’ve got my nieces and nephews doing extracises, and I find myself doing them all the time. It’s fun and goofy and feels great. Thanks!