It can be very difficult to try to find the time (and energy!) to exercise with little ones around the house. I know when my kids were younger, they demanded 100% of my attention when we were at home together, and then I was too exhausted by the time they went to bed to consider going out to the gym. Though it can be a great way to get ‘time out’ and dedicate some much needed and deserved time your yourself, I don’t know many mums that do.
So I ended up trying to involve the kids in my exercise regime. Here are some of the things we tried together. It ended up being a lot of fun and my now almost-6-year-old talks about exercise in a positive way being important to keep him fit and healthy.
- Walk the dog together. Either take a good sturdy pram or encourage your toddler to ride their scooter or balance bike. I recommend taking the empty pram anyway for when they get tired and need a ride. Most prams can support the scooter and bike on top too.
- Follow a yoga workout together. There are lots of YouTube clips around. One I found is Mommy and Me Yoga at Home by CamiRose Yoga. You’d be surprised how much the kids enjoy getting out their own yoga mat and setting it up beside Mummy to copy the moves with you.
- Head to a park. The kids will be entertained on the equipment for ages while you jog some laps around the equipment interspersed with exercises such as sit-ups, push ups, squats, lunges, etc. You can even use the park equipment if you dare!
- Running races and obstacle courses in the back yard. Who doesn’t love a good competition; I know my kids do. Make it fun with different rules and courses, even let them come up with some themselves. My favourite one at home was complete with Captain America’s shield and Thor’s Hammer to defeat the ‘bad robots’ (or garden stakes) in various places around the yard.
- Of course, you can always take them to the gym with you. Many gyms offer a crèche service or have a space with kids’ activities so they can occupy themselves. I currently take my 4year old with me to a personal training session once a week and she absolutely loves it. She will copy a lot of my exercises and has even started setting up her own challenge for me to complete at the end of class.
So let your imagination run wild and get the kids involved in your exercise regime at home. You’ll all have a great time and be instilling important healthy movement ideas in your kids early. All while getting exercise yourself at the same time.
This post was written by Allyson Flanagan, Physiotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor at Stafford Physiotherapy Centre.