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Indoor exercises, for an icy cold day

PHOTO: When it’s too cold to go out to the gym, create some fun and entertaining exercise routines for the entire family. | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Alright, winter’s doing a number on us again. And, with Chicago and a number of suburban school districts closed, a lot of parents are going to be stuck indoors today with their kids. The possibility of a trip to the gym seems highly unlikely.

But if you really want to get a workout in AND entertain the kids — who’ll be  comatose in front of the TV or stir crazy by 11 — here are a few options.

How about setting up a home obstacle course? My son and I started doing these years ago while watching “Biggest Loser.”  We’d create a station with hand weights in one room,  put the exercise mats down for floor exercises in another, do jumping jacks in yet another. It was a lot of fun and something I still do on nights I’m in watching a lot of TV. Every commercial break, I do something different, mixing it up between cardio and body weight exercises.  (BTW, if your kids are young, fill up water bottles and let them use those as handweights to avoid anyone getting injured.)

If you don’t have much room, think about doing a smaller circuit in one room. Decide when you stand on space A, that’s where someone does sit-ups. On space B, that person can run in place and so on. If you have a timer, set it. If not, decide the number of repetitions or that you’ll count to 30 or something while doing a certain exercise.

Or, get a deck of cards. (I saw Bob Harper do something like this on “Biggest Loser.”) Decide for every jack you pull from the deck, you’ll do push-ups. Queens call for jumping jacks, the five of hearts does 30-seconds of planks. You get the idea.

As I mentioned, jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups and planks all work well. So do bear crawls, jumping rope, lunges, squats, stepping (or jumping) onto a stable chair or box. Oh, and of course, I’m a big fan of throwing in a dance or two (the Twist is a great one). There are lots of possibilities, simply adjust for the space you have.

Have fun! I know I always do.