Making exercise a priority when you have kids can be really difficult. Long gone are the days of heading to the gym whenever you wanted. You have meals, school pick ups and drop offs, naps, soccer, piano, and play dates to work around. Sometimes trying to fit in exercise just seems like more work than you can handle at this stage in your life.
Dedicating a precious hour of my day to solely working out gives me a little anxiety because I feel like I don’t have the time or the energy to compartmentalize my life like that. I know some of you are screaming through your computer screen at me, “but the benefits far outweigh the hassle!” I believe you. Which is why I have found a way to integrate my life as a mother and my fitness goals.
Enter my plan to work out with my kids. I know, most people use exercise as an escape and their time to decompress after being with the kids all day. However, I see some amazing benefits to working out with your kids.
- You can do it whenever you can fit it in (aka no excuses)
- Your kids learn that being active is important
- They see that being active can be fun
- They get to be your cheerleader
- You have your “why” staring at you in the face
If you want to develop healthy habits like daily exercise, you’ve got to have a “why.” My biggest one is my kids. I want to help them develop healthier habits than I did. I want to have the energy to play with them, teach them, and live out my energy-zapping role as a mother. So working out with them keeps that vision front and center.
I’ve found some fun and creative ways to workout with your kids that we have been loving lately. These workouts are totally customizable to your level of fitness, the amount of time you have, and how involved you want to get the kids. Another plus? They’re all totally free
Apart from the crazy dance sessions I have with my kids in the kitchen at any given moment, we also like to do YouTube Zumba or Dance videos. My kids love to dance around and try to follow along. It totally boosts your confidence when you don’t have to keep up with the slender, ripped, 19-year-old girl dancing circles around you in class. Your toddlers are just as lost as you are.
I make playlists on YouTube and it makes it easy to turn on my TV, go to YouTube, and directly to my playlists to do some dance workouts. Some of our favorite channels for zumba are: Live Love Party (if you can get past the guy in the tutu, really?!), Club Fitz, and Shine Dance Fitness. You can also just search for a song you like and add “zumba” to the end of your search.
2. Obstacle Course
Ok, I haven’t tried this yet but it just came to me and you can bet we’re going to try this today. Do you remember making obstacle courses with your friends when you were little? We used to make up these random courses with whatever was lying around the yard. Then somebody would choose how you were to go through the course and in what order. Then we raced to see who could do it the fastest.
Oh we are definitely trying this today.
I was pretty disappointed in myself last week when we went to the park and my son crossed the monkey bars without any help and then asked me to do it…Sadly enough, I couldn’t cross even one bar for fear the joints in my arms would be ripped clear to shreds
Clearly, I am out of shape. Then I remembered I told myself I was going to try these playground workouts I saw once and thought they were genius. The trick is finding a time and place where you can be by yourself with your kids. Good thing the elementary school playgrounds are free during the summer
4. Strength Training
Who needs a personal trainer when you have kids?! Just give your oldest a whistle and a timer and watch how motivated you are to impress your kids.
I pick random videos on YouTube and turn them into a playlist for different kinds of workouts. My 5-year-old is an exceptional cheerleader and when I start slacking off he’ll say, “Mom, she’s still going, you can’t stop.”
We’ve tried the Women’s Workout Channel, although I’m kind of tired of looking at all the butt shots. This one looks a little more promising and I think I’ll be trying it next. The truth is, YouTube is an amazing free resource where you can find pretty much any kind of workout you’re looking for. Some even use your kids as weights
Walking with my kids is just as fun for me as it is for them. I love to look at and admire old houses in our little town when I walk and my kids have picked up on it. Now my 2-year-old daughter will point at a house and say, “Mommy, I wuv that house.”
You can also kill two birds with one stone and ask a friend if she wants to go. You get your socializing with adults while you spend time with your kids and exercise! Wow…now that is multitasking.
If you’re a little ahead in the game, you may want to run. For me, at this point, it’s more of a joke. My kids will say, “Run mommy!” and I’ll run across the intersection only to be totally out of breath by the other side while they’re laughing uncontrollably.
As a mom, I get so tired of thinking of ways to keep my kids entertained while I “get stuff done.” I don’t want exercise to be just another thing that takes away from quality time with my kids or even quality time with myself. Integrating exercise and involving your kids can bring boat loads of benefits for all of you.
* * * * *
Have you tried working out with your kids? What’s your favorite activity to do?