Sure, having a beer belly is a side effect of having children, but if you mix in the right amount of play with your kids, you can get a pretty effective workout. It’s not going to get you into the Olympics anytime soon, but it will help you fight the aging effects that are soon to follow when they grow into aggravating teenagers.

A trip to the park is an easy excuse to demonstrate your masterful skills on the monkey bars. Okay, I can’t make it one from one to the other, but make that trip a daily occurrence and you never know the progress you can make.

Engaging in a game of tag with your kids is a great way to burn off some steam in a field. You’re zigging, zagging and starting and stopping. Even with a 3 year old, I can work some masterful magic.

Sports in the driveway are a great way to raise your heart rate. From shooting hoops, to tossing a pass or chasing down a frisbee, you can burn a few calories in just a few minutes. And the younger the kid, the easier the workout. Trust me, 3 year olds can’t throw a frisbee with accuracy, you’ll be chasing it all over the neighborhood.

I also like to pretend to do weights with my infant son. He’s 5 months old, about 16 pounds and reaching him up in the air is a great arm and chest workout. When I need harder sets I lift up the 3 year old.

Bike rides and running can be worked in to the workout mix too. I have a bike seat for my son to sit on the back of my mountain bike and we’ll ride around the nearby neighborhoods checking out geocaches and searching for new playgrounds to explore. An after dinner ride can go for an hour and it’s fun for both of us. Running with a stroller like a Mountain Buggy is easy to do too. The kids love the breeze on their face and the extra weight of the stroller extends the benefits of your workout.

When it comes right down to it, being an active and participating parent is the best way to get a workout. Running your kids will give you exercise, will tire them out for a better night’s sleep and will bond the whole family together.

YouTube stars Rhett and Link demonstrate some other ways kids can be used in your workout.

What’s your DadCAMP workout?

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