Exercise Rhymes

Hi I’m Marina, creator of Exercise Rhymes®, rhymes that make exercising fun. After my daughter Isabel was born I had significant ‘baby weight’ to lose. I enjoy running, but Isabel quickly became bored with her books, toys and snacks in the jogging stroller as I tried to get my exercise. I sought out ways to create playtime focused on fitness and fun that would benefit us both. We tried some exercise videos together but they didn’t hold her Exercise Rhymesattention for long. I found myself using her as a weight doing squats, lunges, crunches, and arm lifts and then began making up rhymes to go with the exercises. It was wonderful to include her in my exercise routine and she would soon begin mimicking my movements and began to routinely play and exercise together in short bursts throughout the day.

Drawing on my years of dance, yoga and fitness training, I created flashcards pairing fun rhymes and exercises for adults to do with young kids….and Exercise Rhymes® was born. Family and friends with young children tested the prototype flashcard decks and provided me with invaluable feedback. My daughter and I also routinely did the exercises and even at 18 months, she quickly recognized the rhymes and started doing the exercises that went with them. She would fill in the rhyming words and loved to pretend being a frog, bunny, train, etc. while we exercised together. I was happy to shed the pregnancy pounds and we both had a lot of fun taking short breaks to exercise throughout the day at home and at the park. The exercises were even helpful in occupying her while waiting in line, and now she is starting to use the cards to practice reading.

I also did some research and found that:

  • There is a strong correlation between academic achievement and fitness levels.
  • Rhymes and exercises form patterns between mind and body that reinforce learning.
  • Rhyming is known to provide a good foundation for phonics and reading. Rhyming also helps to support the brain’s timing mechanism, critical for interpersonal communications and social interactions.
  • Short bursts of activity a few times per day are as effective as one longer exercise session. High intensity short duration exercise is shown to be a potent fat-burner and it helps the body handle and recover from stress.
  • Making exercise fun for kids helps to establish healthy associations that can last a lifetime.

Exercise Rhymes® are fun playful rhymes and exercises for adults to do with young children ages 3 to 7 years old. Preschool and primary elementary teachers use them for fitness breaks in class, and there are therapeutic uses for children with special needs. They are effective in educational therapy because the combined rhyme and exercise stimulate both motor and language centers of the brain, and the rhymes help with the brain’s timing mechanism. Pediatric therapists have stated they get significant eye contact and interaction while using Exercise Rhymes® with autistic children and they are an excellent resource for parents to continue therapy at home. The exercises themselves benefit the parents, teachers, and caregivers as much as the kids, and they really are a fun way to not only exercise but also spend time together. In fact, in my children’s fitness classes, I find the kids love the rhymes and pretending and never think twice about the exercise.

Finding the time to exercise is a challenge for everyone, especially with kids in tow, but exercising with your kids does not have to include a lot of time, pain, or even the gym. Including kids in the exercise routine is a simple solution that helps build lifelong, healthy habits for everyone. Commitment and consistency provide the long term benefits of health and vitality. A commitment to fitness is important, and showing our children that exercise is fun might be even more important!


  • Find fun ways to exercise with your kids, including sports you enjoy.
    • Take walks around the block, ride bikes together, or jog beside your child while they are riding a bike (always wearing a helmet).
    • Try simple strengthening exercises together including lunges and squats. Doing these exercise while holding your young child is a fun way to increase the intensity.
  • Be sure to always keep your stomach muscles drawn-in while exercising to strengthen your core, improve your posture, and support your back.
  • As with any new exercise routine, get an okay from your healthcare provider first.


One Response to “Exercise Rhymes”

  1. exercise says:

    a good read, thanks for this post. need to do more exercise.

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