Workouts You Can Actually Do With Little Kids Around
Hitting the gym with kids in tow is a lot more difficult than going alone. Without daycare or another viable option for their supervision, you may think your workout routine is destined to suffer on the days you can't take your eyes off your progeny. Luckily, there are exercises and methods to get your kids moving around with you.
Use your surroundings
Did you know 3 out of 4 kids (and teenagers) don't get their recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day? And younger preschool-age children need even more—about 120 minutes per day. A big part of the problem for children (and adults) is that our environments are set up to be sedentary. Unless you live in a walkable city, most people rely on public or private transportation to get them from one place to another. Modern-day conveniences—like washing machines and elevators—have removed opportunities for bursts of exercise throughout the day.
Additionally, for most kids, screen time has taken the place of running around outdoors. When you consider the increasing demands on working parents and realistic concerns about the safety of outdoor spaces for kids, it's no surprise exercise has taken a back seat.
But with a little creativity, it's still possible to find active moments throughout the day. If you live in a building with stairs, take advantage. Stair-climbing is a proven way to boost your energy levels and improve blood sugar regulation after meals. Walking or jogging up and down the stairs is something you can invite your kids to do along with you, depending on their age. For greater muscle engagement, skip every other step or use the stairs to do tricep dips and pushups. Make sure you're paying attention to your movements and focusing on your balance to stay safe during your workout.
If you have a baby or toddler who isn't ready for stairs, you can put them in a playpen at the bottom, where they'll remain in view as you go up and down. Your baby will get a kick out of watching you, and you'll feel accomplished and energized.
Set up an obstacle course
Drum up excitement for exercise by putting together an age-appropriate obstacle course. Obstacle courses can be constructed indoors or outdoors with everyday items, such as pillows, a deck of cards to pick up and put down, a step stool to hop up on and a bucket filled with water or toys to carry.
Keep it simple with body-weight exercises like jumping jacks, burpees and toe touches. Consider bear crawls and crab walks to challenge your core. For an immersive experience, blow a whistle to signal go-time and play upbeat tunes as you take turns tackling the obstacles.
Go to the trampoline park or grab a jump rope
Jumping is an excellent cardiovascular workout and, luckily, kids generally love it. Search your area for an indoor trampoline park. When you get there, join in on the fun. Some facilities even offer adult workout classes you can take while your kids are jumping.
Another alternative is jumping rope. If you remember the fun of jumping rope as a child, you may be surprised by how challenging it is to do as an adult. Not only is jumping rope an incredible workout for your calves and cardiovascular system, but it's also a good time to sneak in some math skills. Try counting by twos or fives as you jump.
Head to the town pool
Swimming is both relaxing and an essential life skill. If you don't have a pool or natural body of water nearby, call your town's parks and recreation department to ask about pools open to the public. Your local high school, YMCA or community center may have a pool available for anyone to use during specified hours.
Kids of all ages can enjoy the water. If you have a baby or a toddler, find a floaty that lets you push them as you swim or walk behind. Older kids can swim in their own lane, giving everyone a chance to burn off some energy.
Enjoy the benefits of exercise together
Parenting is an exhausting job, both physically and emotionally. The temptation to sit back and watch your kids run around is tempting, especially when you may be lacking sufficient rest. But taking the initiative to join in and play with your kids can offer endless benefits for your mood, sleep quality and physical health. In doing so, you'll instill the values of a healthy lifestyle and create a meaningful bond and lasting memories with your little one(s).