Teresa HoganFrom Health magazine
Pull out a stopwatch and try your hand (or feet!) at these fun, family-friendly obstacle course ideas from Krystin Swift, fitness manager at Ethos Fitness and Spa for Women in Midland Park, NJ.
Combine any of these station ideas for a one-of-a-kind family obstacle course. Encourage each other to finish the whole course, or make it a race and time everyone to see whos the fastest.
For walking or crawling stations, 25 yards is a good distance to start. Be sure to measure it out before the race begins and mark it with clear signals; a cone or sidewalk chalk is best. As your family masters the course, change the stations around or increase times and distances at each station for a challenge.
*Ok for kids under five
Forget banged up knees. Instead crawl across the yard with your hands and feet like a bear.
Instead of your belly facing the ground (like in the bear crawl), flip over and face the sky. Use your hands and feet to scurry across the yard like a crab.
High knees marching*
March like a marching bands leader, pulling the knee up and parallel with the ground as you walk forward.
Channel your inner frog and squat low to the ground, jump forward into the air, and squat back to a hovering position. Do it again and again until youve crossed the finish line for that station.
Using sidewalk chalk, draw boxes at an angle, two feet apart from one another. To start, stand in the first box and jump sideways to the next box and then sideways again to the next. Think of it as skiing across the driveway. For an added challenge, vary the distance between boxes. If you dont land with both feet in the box, you have to go back to the last box and try again.
Using a medicine ball (or a small ball no heavier than four pounds), partner up and toss the ball back and forth. After each toss, take a step back until you reach markers without dropping the ball. If you drop the ball, start over. (Good distance between markers: 30 yards.)
For a good cardio station, keep a hula-hoop going for 20 seconds. If you drop it, start over. For an added challenge: try keeping a hula hoop going for 20 seconds in one direction and then for 20 more seconds going the other direction.
If you have a few jump ropes, you have a ready-made station. Each person has to jump 15 times before going to the next station.
Set up cones and dribble a soccer ball through the cones and back. Use however many cones you have. Its best to start with three cones and increase as it gets easier for everyone to complete. This exercise works on agility as well as side-to-side motion.
If you have a jungle gym in your backyard, use the monkey bars as a stop in the race. Every one must cross the bars before continuing to the next station. If someone falls off, she must start again before continuing on.
If you have a basketball goal in the driveway, mark three spots (or more for an extra challenge) from which everyone must shoot and make a basket. Its best to number the spots so everyone starts in the same place. Move spots back or at angles from the goal. When a basket has been made from every spot, you can go to the next station.
A great way to round out the whole obstacle course is to end with a 50-yard dash (or smaller distance if you dont have the space). Mark off the dash starting with the end of the previous station and let everyone run to the finish line. It could come down to the wire!