Kid-Friendly Fitness Activities to Keep Your Family in Motion

Kid-Friendly Fitness Activities to Keep Your Family in Motion

If you struggle to get the motivation to exercise, it can be hard to also convince the rest of your family to be physically fit. To help you out, we have a few ideas about activities that your youngsters can engage in while also adding some exercise and outdoor time into your daily life. 

Check out some of these kid-friendly fitness activities.

Gardening Team-Up

Do your children love playing in the dirt? Unleash them on your garden to help turn over the soil and put new plants in the ground. It gets everyone outdoors and moving around. Having your children help water and take out the easy weeds will keep them invested throughout the season. It can also spark their appetites for the fruit and vegetables they nurtured.

Dog Time

If you have an energetic dog, having your children run around in the backyard or a park with their canine pal can be excellent and entertaining exercise. Playing fetch (or keep-away if that’s more of your dog’s game) should have you and your kids on the move.

Commercial Fitness Breaks

Putting your kids in front of the TV is an easy way to keep them entertained, but don’t let that stop them from being active. During commercial breaks or between episodes, have the family play an “exercise game.” Name the exercise after the show, like “Spongebob sit-ups,” or do a follow-the-leader-style activity incorporating simple exercises.

Simple Walks

Don’t over-think it. Walks are an excellent, simple activity with which your kids can keep up. Better yet, add an element of scavenger hunting to it. Give yourself a list of things to spot, from easy to maybe a little more difficult (i.e., four dogs, two maple leaves, three robins, etc.). Take a walk around the neighborhood or down the road before or after meals. Think about taking a hike along a bike trail or down a country road for those in a rural area. Cool summer evenings make for great walking times.

Sports Night

You should also consider having a family sports night. Practice dribbling basketballs, kicking around a soccer ball or playing catch. You might even get a child’s golf set and make a game out of hitting wiffle balls around the yard. Not only are these fun exercise activities, but they also make for a nice introduction into competitive sports later in life.

Free Book: Home Remedies for Back & Neck Pain

Free Guide: Home Remedies for Back & Neck Pain

We’ve all had that moment first thing in morning where neck or back pain (or a combination of the two) are making us feel like we’ll be down for the count that day. The truth is, it’s hard to remedy consistent back and neck pain without guidance from a professional who can tell you what to do and, more importantly, what not to do.

Luckily Orthopedic Institute (OI) has a book jam-packed with home remedies for just that.

“The Home Remedy Book for Back and Neck Pain” includes tips to:

  • Relieve simple back and neck pain
  • Strengthen your back
  • Make your back more flexible
  • Learn what various symptoms mean
  • Prevent future back pain problems

And best of all, all the techniques in the book are physician-approved, safe and effective.

How to Tell When Your Child Needs an Orthopedic Visit

How to Tell When Your Child Needs an Orthopedic Visit

Bumps and scrapes—every kid experiences them thanks to their penchant for physical activity in the outdoors. But when does a bump or a scrape turn into something worth visiting the orthopedist for? Not all symptoms are equally serious, so when should you take your child in to be examined?

Here are a few common symptoms that, if persistent or frequent, can be a sign it’s time to visit the orthopedic physician.

Injury-related pain

This one is the most clear-cut symptom – if your child experiences pain in an area in which he or she encountered a collision in a sporting event or a tumble in the backyard or any other directly associated injury event, it’s likely worth a clinic visit. Most impacts such as these will have immediate symptoms such as redness, soreness or swelling, but if they linger or continue beyond a couple hours, it might be a sign of a more serious injury.

Morning stiffness

As parents, we all have experienced that stiff and sore feeling when we get out of bed. But when our children start to experience it, it could be a sign of illness beyond just “sleeping too hard.” If this stiffness is regular or affects your kid’s day-to-day activities that used to come more easily (even tasks as basic as reaching for a cereal box or brushing his or her teeth), it could be a sign of the onset of juvenile arthritis. If symptoms are frequent or regular, check with your doctor.


When a child has a broken bone it might not always be obvious. Depending on the severity of the fracture, he or she might not exhibit obvious symptoms like searing pain or restricted movement. A fracture is still a serious ailment that needs to be treated quickly, though. One of the easiest ways to tell if a bone is possibly broken is bruising in an area that may have been impacted. If a bruise appears that is accompanied by tenderness or difficulty in moving limbs or joints in the surrounding area, it might be worth a visit to the orthopedist to get an X-ray.

Warmth and swelling

One sign of a joint condition in a child (or anyone for that matter) is a joint feeling warm or appearing visibly swollen. As outlined above, this is normal in the immediate time after an injury, but persistent or unexplained hotness or redness might be a calling card of an inflammation that needs to be treated. If swelling sticks around for more than a few days or keeps returning time and again, ask your doctor about a possible inflammatory condition.

Persisting pain

One-off joint pain can sometimes be attributed to basic growing pains, particularly in pre-10-year-old children, but if the pain is persistent and continues beyond a night or two it might be a sign of lasting ailments, such as childhood arthritis or various types of infections. If pain lasts for a week or more, it’s time to set an appointment with an orthopedic physician to eliminate any serious complications.

10 Questions with Sean Magee

10 Questions with Sean Magee

We’re giving you a peek into what makes Orthopedic Institute (OI) tick by shedding some light on our best and brightest.

Today’s featured team member is Sean Magee, one of our physical therapists (PT). Sean graduated from the University of North Dakota. He has a rich 26 years of experience evaluating and treating the spine with mechanical diagnosis and therapy.

Let’s take a deeper dive into what motivates Sean and keeps him passionate about treating patients at OI. 

1. How did you decide to become a PT?

I read a job description about physical therapy in a career magazine, and I was hooked.

2. What led you to join the OI team?

I was recruited to come to Orthopedic Institute. They were looking for a physical therapist that was certified in mechanical diagnosis and therapy to start up its Spine Physical Therapy Program.

3. What is your favorite part of your job?

Utilizing mechanical diagnosis and therapy to evaluate and treat patients

4. What makes your spine therapy program different from other general physical therapy options?

Our Physical Therapists in the Spine Physical Therapy Program are certified in Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy of the Spine through the McKenzie Institute USA. There are only three Physical Therapists in the state of South Dakota certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy of the Spine, two of which are at Orthopedic Institute ( the skilled Ryan Otto, and myself).

5. What is the best part about working with patients?

Educating and empowering them to participate in their treatment plans, to achieve their goals and to prevent future exacerbations

6. If you could tell every patient one thing before they came in, what would it be?

Our highly trained staff of doctors, nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists are here to serve you and your individual orthopedic needs with the most up-to-date orthopedic care in the region. 

7. What do you feel is your number one strength as a PT?

I think my two biggest strengths are: 1. My 28 years experience in evaluating and treating spine patients, and 2. Being certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy of the Spine since 1994. That certification allows me to assess patients with a standardized mechanical evaluation. Based on the results of that evaluation, I am able to infuse the patient with knowledge about their mechanical diagnosis. After that, I am able to instruct them in things such as: improving their posture, correcting their dysfunctional movement patterns, preventing future exacerbation, and developing an individualized home exercise program to decrease their pain. All of these factors work to increase their limited range of motion, to improve their strength deficits and to decrease their functional disability.

8. Why should a patient come to your spine therapy program as opposed to another program?

At the Orthopedic institute, they will be evaluated by a one of our Physical Therapists certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy of the Spine. Certified clinicians take a detailed history of the patient’s symptoms and how these symptoms behave with different activities and positions throughout the day and night. Using repeated end range movements or positions and observing how their range of motion has changed, my team will be able to create an individualized treatment plan for the patient. The patient will be prescribed specific exercises and given guidance for appropriate postures and behaviors to adopt or to temporarily avoid outside of the clinic (at home & work). By learning how to self-treat their current problem, patients gain hands on knowledge to minimize the risk of recurrence and to rapidly deal with symptoms if they recur. This program is amazingly individualized and complete unlike anything else in the area.

9. How do you spend your time when you’re not at OI? 

Doing outdoor activities; spending time with family; playing with my 15-month-old grandson Lewi; reading physical therapy journals; listening to Christian music; reading the bible daily; praying for family, friends, colleagues and patients; and going to church as often as I can.

10. What is your ideal way to spend your birthday?

Spending time with family.

Experiencing spine pain? Meet with Sean and the rest of our experienced team. Make an appointment today!