How can you exercise with your children?
Photo by Elisabeth Wales on Unsplash
Working out with young kids can be a major struggle — not to mention expensive. Between paying babysitters and attending fitness classes, escaping the kids to enjoy a proper sweat sesh can get quite pricey. Luckily, you don’t have to leave the kids at home to exercise. Think outside the box and use the following ideas to work out with your children. This way they’ll learn to take care of their own health whilst bonding with you and your partner. It’s a win-win, really!
Hit the waterpark
How long has it been since you’ve been to a waterpark? Indoor parks are open year-round and offer plenty of opportunities to exercise with the kiddos. Burn 11 calories a minute chasing them up the stairs to the tallest slide. Boogie board in the wave pool, have a water fight, and paddle along the lazy river whenever you need a break. The best part is you’ll have so much fun, you’ll forget you’re even working out.
Go to the playground
If you’re looking for a more affordable exercise option, head to the local park or playground. Join your little ones in climbing the monkey bars, crawling through tubes, and whooshing down slides. You can even bring some sports equipment and coach your little athletes if there’s a baseball or soccer field nearby. No matter how you play, traipsing around the playground will help regulate blood pressure, lower sugar levels, and keep your whole family happy and healthy.
Make an obstacle course
Spending the day at home? Make an obstacle course right in your own backyard — or living room! — with hula hoops, pool noodles, cardboard boxes, and other items. Then, relive your childhood field days by jumping, crawling, and racing through the course with your kids. Be creative with this activity and use whatever you have on hand. If it’s warm enough, incorporate sprinklers or water balloons to stay cool while you break a sweat.
Try a fitness class
Parents of older children might try attending a fitness class together. Choose from Zumba, boxing, pilates, yoga, and more to find a session that piques everyone’s interest and matches your fitness levels. Alternatively, you can let the kids decide — an excellent choice if they’re hesitant about going. Regardless of the class you take, remember to keep an open mind, laugh at yourselves and have fun! This is a perfect opportunity to bond with the kids, so be sure to take it.
Do bodyweight exercises
New to working out? Try some bodyweight exercises. Unlike weightlifting or CrossFit, bodyweight routines don’t require a coach or special equipment. All you need is yourself and kiddo or two. Have them sit on your back while you do pushups or let them count your reps. Practice functional movements that’ll be useful for both of you — think crawling and jumping. Long jumps, bear crawls, and burpees will engage the kids, burn fat and build muscle, too.
Take a hike
Maybe you enjoy trail running or mountain biking but your little ones are too young or simply disinterested. In this case, a simple hike will suffice. Lace-up your boots and hit the trails together at your local park or nature reserve. Pack plenty of snacks and pick an interesting trail with water features or rocks that the kids can climb on. As they get older, entrust them with their own gear and responsibilities like gathering kindling and holding the dog’s leash to keep them motivated.
Enjoy seasonal activities
Sure, temperatures are dropping, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. Right now, you can enjoy autumn by raking leaves, climbing hay bales, and picking apples. Winter offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, too, especially after the first snow. Go sledding, ice skating, skiing, or snowshoeing to burn calories and build endurance. Building snowmen, making snow angels, and having snowball fights are equally effective, not to mention tons of fun!
Enter a competition
Are your kids the competitive type? Build their confidence and give them a challenge by entering a fitness competition together. Whether it’s a bicycle race or an inflatable obstacle course, remember to train for it to boost willpower and endurance. Set goals and work together to achieve them. If they love the experience, you might end up being the family that runs a 5k on Thanksgiving morning or does a tough mudder every year, which would certainly keep you in shape!
Letting your kids lead
Giving your kids the choice to join in workouts is the first step to helping them embrace a healthier lifestyle. However, it’s also important that you let them lead in choosing exercises and activities. Doing so will allow them to explore their interests and develop a fitness routine they truly enjoy. This way they’ll be more likely to stick with it and take charge of their own health and wellness well into adulthood.