Your child has been reading hard all week, but your child’s most recent spelling test is far from excellent. She studies, eats well, sleeps peacefully, and does cardio, so what is the culprit?

While your child is more likely to be fasting in front of a computer than running during school breaks, their physical inactivity may have more of an impact on their athletic prowess. 

A 2012 study by the Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette found that children with a healthy heart rate performed up to 5% better on tests. The standardized test compared with children was in poor health. So they should do cardio for better health.

If you were expecting schools to take action as well, you might want to reconsider. As recess continues to shorten and school ends for the summer, it is the responsibility of parents to keep children active. 

Classics like baseball, football, and soccer are great, but there are also plenty of less popular activities to keep kids entertained and sweaty. Take advantage of the summer heat and mix things up with these engaging cardio workouts for kids.

10 Cardio Exercises For Kids


swimmingWhether she’s Natalie Coughlin-wannabe or more than a cannonball prodigy, your kids will reap huge benefits from spending many hours in the water this summer.

Use the upcoming Olympics to get your budding medalist excited to get in the pool. Teaching different styles of swimming, diving, and water play are great ways to use the pool to pump your child’s blood.




cyclingYour neighborhood doesn’t have to be a Tour de France route for you and your little cyclist to enjoy cycling:

A 125-pound adult burns an average of 450 calories per hour when pressing the pedals. To get the most out of your bike, try swapping out your car for a bike the next time you need to go on a family trip.Make sure you always wear a helmet, whether it’s a quick trip to the park or a long ride. Look for models that have been approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) or the Snell Foundation.



Roller skating

roller skatingBring back your favorite ’80s pastime when you connect your kids to their own set of skates. Mix things up by creating obstacles with traffic cones and chalk in your driveway, and encourage the small group in the neighborhood to come up with a maze to navigate.

Whatever your plan, make sure your child is fully protected with a helmet and body armor.




skippingIt’s time to double up Dutch! Clean up that jump rope in the garage and teach your kids some of your favorite jump rope techniques.

Stir things up with fast-paced games like Snakes and encourage your kids to have more fun with their friends.





surfIt’s hanging season! If you’re near the beach and feel ready to take on the waves, sign up for a parent-child surf lesson.

Not only will you and your child get plenty of exercise, but learning to do something together will strengthen your bond and force you to lean on each other for support, both literally and figuratively!



Throwing Frisbee

throwing frisbeeStow a Frisbee in the back of the car so you’ll always have a way to do cardio with your kids. When playing with discs, keep in mind the most important rule:





No Rules

no rulesEncourage your child to be silly with different throws, or help them organize different games with friends for friendly (and heart-healthy) competition.






journeysWhether you have a few hours or an entire day, hiking is a way to bond with your kids while getting some serious exercise. If you’re just starting out, look for short hikes and then move on to more serious hikes when you’re confident.

Increase the educational element by researching and identifying plants as you go; Soon you’ll be seasoned pioneers with some serious botany work.




leapIf your child’s summer schedule seems appealing in the physical activity department, sign your budding ballerina for a dance class to help get her up to speed.

Dancing is not only a cardiovascular exercise but also a great opportunity to stretch muscles and release tension. If classical ballet isn’t your thing, try jazz, tap, dance, or even Zumba.





Volley BallBump, set, spike! Thanks to the upcoming Olympics, this popular beach sport is sure to please any summer-loving kid. This sport requires quick thinking, quick footwork, and close hand-eye coordination, making it the perfect way to exercise both mentally and physically on a sunny day at the beach.






While you might not think it’s a serious exercise, an intense yoga class can burn several hundred calories an hour while also improving mindfulness, breathing, balance, and strength.

For a beginner workout that doesn’t overwhelm youngsters, try Ananda or Hatha yoga. Once you’ve become a seasoned yogi, master the more advanced moves with Bikram or Vinyasa classes.

Give yourself a pat on the back between bouncing around to the music while dancing or hiking in nature, you’re ready to get kids cardio this summer. 

Cultivating a love of physical activity in your child will not only encourage them to stay active in the sun but also reap the rewards as school resumes in the fall. Mutually beneficial!