How Watching Dora with Your Kids Can Improve Your Fitness…

Dora FitnessHow Watching Dora with Your Kids Can Improve Your Fitness…

“Come on Vaminos…” – Dora


Guessing as you read that quote, you started singing. Sorry about that.

The idea seems ridiculous. Fitness concepts from Dora? As a parent, you can draw inspiration from some strange places. If you are like me, then you have been exposed to your fair share of children’s programming… including Dora. We try to limit the amount of TV time our kids get. However, it is inevitable that you will consciously or sub-consciously absorb something along the way, even with limited TV time.

Most of us know the songs, the characters and reoccurring plotlines from the usual suspects of kid’s show lineups. I am no different. However, because I write about fitness, I too often see fitness parallels with every day concepts… even if they are a bit far-fetched.

One day, as I was hanging out with my girls, the TV was on in the background. Suddenly, in a moment of clarity I had a realization. Dora is not trying to annoy me with repetitive plotlines and catchy tunes until I smash my face into the wall… To the contrary, she is trying to teach us about fitness.

It’s insane I know. But, if you haven’t already stopped reading, stick with me as I explain the parallels between Dora and a strong fitness routine, while also showing off my unfortunate knowledge of the show:


Consistency – Dora is everywhere… all the time. If you are ever attempting to wean your children off of Dora, while also looking for something on TV… good luck. Dora happens every day. Dora doesn’t care what time of day it is, how bad your day has been or what else is happening in your life. As consistent as the sun rising in the East, Dora happens every day and is on all the time.

Living a fit lifestyle should be the same way. Fitness is not an activity you do on occasion, or only during a certain time of the year. Lasting changes only come from consistent activity done every day. Try to make fitness an everyday part of your life, not just something you do sporadically. Dora is always on… are you?


Daily Goals – At the start of the episodes I have seen, there is always a goal that has to be achieved. Maybe Boots lost something and they need to go retrieve it. Maybe Dora has to free the magical singing bird. Whatever the case, there is a clearly defined goal at the beginning of each episode. In order to reach the end goal, they have to reach several smaller goals along the way. If Boots wants his hat back, then first they need to navigate Crocodile River. After that, they have to wake up the Sleeping Mountain and pass through the Jumping Gates. After reaching each small goal, they finally work their way up to the larger goal.

One of the best ways to stick to a fitness routine and stay motivated is to set daily goals. While there is a larger goal down the road, set smaller goals you can achieve each day. This builds huge momentum as you add up each success. You become more confident in your ability to impact your health and fitness, which pushes you to take additional steps each day. A long journey always begins with a single step, and small goals.


Use The Map – Dora and team always start at a specific location, but they always need to get somewhere else. In order to help them along the way, Dora reaches into her backpack, (“Backpack, Backpack”), and pulls out her map, (“I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map”). And yes, I am intentionally trying to get the songs stuck in your head. Dora always starts by identifying where they are currently, and then looks ahead to where they need to be, noting the benchmarks along the way.

With any fitness program, you have to start by identifying your current abilities and fitness level. Like Dora, once you know where you are, you can plot your plan to get where you want to be. Along the way, your goals and small steps lead you in the right direction, and allow you to reach your final destination. Your workout plan, goals, support system and motivation are your map. Don’t attempt to make your fitness journey without this valuable tool… the backpack is optional.


Enjoy Rewards Along the Way – Throughout Dora’s journey, her and her team complete their small goals and tasks on the way to their final destination. When they do achieve one of the smaller goals, they really celebrate. I think there are typically songs, dancing, streamers, stars, maybe gold doubloons… (I may be mixing up my shows at this point). In any case, they really take the time to have fun and celebrate their victories along the way. They haven’t reached their ultimate goal yet, but they stop and recognize the importance of the small wins as they come up.

Celebrating small wins along your personal fitness journey is very important. Taking the time to recognize all of your small victories each day will help you stay motivated and make your routine more enjoyable. Even though you have not yet reached your ultimate goal, celebrating each victory along the way is an integral part in sticking with your program.


Swiping from Swiper – Of course, no journey goes as smoothly as planned, even with a map. Inevitably, Swiper comes along and tries to derail Dora’s plans. Sometimes, they see it coming, and avoid Swiper without any issues. Other times, despite their best efforts, Swiper creates chaos in their journey. Despite his attempts to ruin their plans, Dora and team always get creative and find a way to stay on course.

Life is your Swiper. Work, kids, commutes, stress, lack of motivation and lack of direction… all ready to swipe your fitness plan. Like Dora, you can anticipate some of these and avoid them all together. However, often you get swiped and you have to get creative and adjust. Life is uncertain, and as a parent something can always come up. However, you can’t let your Swiper ruin your plans. Be creative and flexible. Stay positive and stick to the plan. In the end, you will reach your goals if you do so.


Have Fun – Even when Dora and her team have to traverse ridiculously dangerous terrain, you never hear them complain. I haven’t seen an episode when Dora throws down her map and backpack in frustration, and says “We have to go all the way across Candy Crossing, swim through Cotton Creek and climb the Moving Mountain… just to get my hat back!” Every time, regardless of the journey ahead of them, they always seem to have fun and keep a positive attitude. The result… they always reach their goals and have fun along the way.

Despite what you may think, fitness does not have to be arduous or painful. It is hard work, but it should be rewarding and can be fun along the way. Recognize the benefits you are receiving and providing for your family as you go. Mix it up to keep things interesting and have fun with fitness. Include your kids and play sports to stay active and spend time with your family. Dora wouldn’t have lasted 3 episodes if she didn’t have fun and keep a positive attitude.


So there you have it. What you may have thought was an annoyingly catchy TV show for kids, actually turns out to be an excellent fitness resource for you and your family. The good news is, shows like these also appear to be teaching our children some valuable life lessons. So if this is one of their favorites, maybe they are learning something along the way. Of course, outdoor activities would be better…

I had so much fun with this article, I think I may make it a series… but I need your help.

Tell me some children’s programming you think may fit the bill, or fitness lessons you see in some of the shows your kids watch. Put them in the comments below, or shoot me an email at


The Fit Parent Project

Life Changing Fitness for Parents





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