6 ways to work out as a family

During the fall, there's nothing like an adventure in the great outdoors.

Story highlights

  • Child obesity rates have tripled since the 1980s, so families need to get active
  • Endorphins plus fresh air equals a refreshing way to get in better shape
  • Instead of plopping down in front of the TV, head out for a walk after dinner

(upwave.com)Remember when Arnold Schwarzenegger used to promise us kids a special certificate from school if we did 100 push-ups in a row during gym? Well, it's not all jumping jacks and gray sweatpants these days -- but you still gotta move if you want to feel good.

How much, you say? According to Let's Move, today's national fitness program, kids should get a total of 60 minutes of physical activity each day, and adults need 30.
Here's why it matters, especially for the kids: Childhood obesity rates have tripled since the '80s, and at this rate, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. And let's not mention heart disease, asthma and tons of other largely preventable weight-related ailments.
    Besides, exercise just feels good -- and don't you think most family outings could use a bit more of that? So ditch the minivan and the trip to Chuck E. Cheese and head outside! Believe it or not, your kids will thank you: Endorphins plus fresh air and a fun family experience equals a refreshing way to get in better shape -- and you don't need to chase over-caffeinated children all over a noisy pizza arcade to do it.
    And with that said, here are six ways to move it, shake it and make exercise packed with family fun:

    Walk the walk

    If your crew usually heads to the couch after dinner, make them save their favorite show to the DVR and take a walk instead. Not long, not far, but make sure you get outside and let your meal digest while you stroll. If you're in a city, walk around the block; suburban dwellers can make tracks around the cul-de-sac. The point is simple: fresh air and a few steps together.
    What you need: Comfy shoes for sure. A stroller is optional. If it makes life fun, bring bikes, Razor scooters, roller skates and the dog, too -- anything that brings a smile to your party on the go.

    Make screen time smarter

    Stop begging the kids to put away the video games... and play with them instead! Fire up the Wii and compete with classics like "Bowling," or bust a move with "Just Dance."
    Families with wee ones will love "Mario Kart" and "Wii Fit." Even "Rock Band" will get you up and out of your seat, which is the whole idea. More into watching plain ol' TV? Make it a goal (or competition) to jump up during commercials; whoever gets up first -- and stays on his or her feet for the duration of the commercial break -- wins.
    Admittedly, a Nintendo Wii is an investment, but if you're game (see what we did there?), it's easy to find refurbished models for less than half the price of the latest and greatest.

    Take a hike

    During the fall, there's nothing like an adventure in the great outdoors.
    National Geographic recently touted the Sourdough Ridge Trail at Mount Rainier N