As a young child, I remember my mother taking my sister and I for walks every evening after dinner. Her doctor had recommended walking as a form of exercise. Walking has many benefits including strengthening the heart and maintaining a healthy weight. Since heart disease runs in my family, we continue with our walks.

However, my husband and I took it a step further. Besides walking, we also invested in a few pieces of exercise equipment and designed our own workout routines. When my niece and nephew come over during the summer, they look forward to a workout of their own which consists of planting flowers, picking up the leaves and even a game of football. Here are 10 habits of healthy families.

Children admire their parents, aunts and uncles. And when they see you are taking positive steps toward a healthier body, chances are they will follow in your footsteps.

Here are six workout routines that will bring a family closer together:

A walk after dinner

If you plan on walking a long distance, the one thing to remember is wear comfortable shoes. A walk is never good with painful feet. During your family walk, catch up on how the day went in school or at work. Consider your walk therapeutic for the body and mind.

Bicycle riding

Ride your bikes around your neighborhood or toward your favorite spots in town. When your children are heading to school (and only if the distance is possible), encourage them to use their bicycle. Or use roller blades, if they own a pair. On warmer days, you'll be surprise how many kids I see using roller blades as a form of transportation.

Do push-ups and sit-ups

Turn this into a competition in which the person with the most push-ups and sit-ups is exempt from taking out the garbage or washing dishes for the next few days. For each winner, think of a new and reasonable reward.

Play sports

In your backyard or at your local park, set a day during the week (preferably during the weekend) for a family softball or football game. Try making the game more festive by asking friends, siblings and cousins to join in. Also, there are indoor sports such as mountain climbing and soccer. At the end of the game, treat yourselves to a healthy lunch or dinner.

Cleaning the house

Once the parents and children know what chore they are responsible for, blast some motivating music, and begin to clean. It's fun to dance while cleaning because it doesn't feel like a chore. Plus, dancing is another form of exercise. Sometimes kids like to redecorate their rooms depending on their moods, which mean they have to move things around and clean any messes they've created. By agreeing to let them redecorate, they will not see cleaning their rooms as a chore, but something they need to do to make their rooms perfect.

Exercise equipment

Within reason, purchase exercise items such as a jump robe or dumbbells that the entire family can benefit from. If purchasing equipment is not an option, perhaps use the staircase in your house or apartment building as a method of exercise. The use of a staircase helps burn calories and increase physical fitness.

Keep your children interested in a healthy lifestyle by constructing a different and creative workout routine each time. But most of all, make exercising fun. As long as you are bonding and creating wonderful memories together, working out as a family will never seem dull.

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