Getting Your Family Groove On

0023May. The month we celebrate mothers. What do you usually give your mom for Mother’s Day? If you are a mother, I bet some of your favorite gifts aren’t material goods but time spent with your kids. What better thing to do with your children than exercise with them?

Active at Home

Ideas in a jar. Write down activities on slips of paper and put them in a jar. When you need something to do, pick a slip and get busy. Some ideas: do 50 jumping jacks, run around the block, boogie around your kitchen, go bowling, go fishing, work in your garden or go for a hike. Have races in the backyard or at a nearby park (three-legged race, anyone?).

Run with your kids. Kids have a different pace than adults and can’t necessarily run as far, but that can be good, especially if you’re just beginning. Run a mile together before dinner; you could probably do it in about 15 minutes. Do this every day, and you’re sure to get addicted.

    The Med City Marathon has a great running option for kids: the kids’ marathon. Kids sign up to “train” (run a total of 25 miles) before race day on May 26, then on race day they run another 1.2 miles to achieve the total marathon distance. Visit

Rochester Classes

Go for a swim. Parents can swim with their babies and toddlers in parent/child swimming classes at the Rochester Area Family YMCA. The Y also has open swim times for the whole family. For schedules, see

Get out and boogie. “Dance and dance fitness classes are a wonderful way for families to have fun exercising together,” says Terri Allred, owner of Rochester International Dance Studio. “For kids, exercise means playing and being physically active. Parents find that dancing with their child is fun, improves their physical health and creates positive shared experiences.”

    International Dance Studio offers weekly classes such as Happy Hips Movement, International Dance Sampler and Zumbatomic—dance fitness targeted to kids of various ages. Visit
    Two disco opportunities are also coming up in Rochester. Empowered Wellness offers Kid Disco, a 30-minute class for children ages 0–Kindergarten and their caregivers on Tuesday mornings. See

    During Rochesterfest, the Rochester Art Center will host kidDISCO on Thursday,
June 21 from 6–8 p.m. The whole family can dance the night away, participate in a costume contest and art-making or have their picture taken in a photo booth.

Engage in a common activity. “Finding common interests to bond and connect with your kids is something all parents desire,” says Michelle Jamieson, owner of SureMichelle Instruction. “For those who enjoy doing something great for their bodies while relieving stress, there is now an option to share this passion with your kids through kids’ yoga.” SureMichelle offers yoga classes for adults as well as kids ages 6–13 starting June 5. Visit

Stephanie Neher, local fitness instructor and mom, recently posted on Facebook that after a 30-minute session of silly wrestling with her son, he said, “Mom, you’re the best girl ever.” You can’t beat hearing those words for a Mother’s Day gift.

Emily Watkins is a writer, owner of Empowered Wellness and advocate of family fitness and wellness.