If your life is anything like ours, it may go something like this: wake up early, already tired from some child waking you up the night before, get the kids off to school, run errands, get some cleaning and laundry done, pick up kids, do homework, plan dinner, play with kids, take them to and from sports, eat dinner, do baths, stories and get them in bed, THEN do the bedtime dance for an hour and then FINALLY sit down to relax. How on earth are we supposed to find time to workout? Sometimes the stars align and you have an hour to yourself to get a workout in… other days you are not as lucky. On those days, sometimes a mini workout WITH your kids is the perfect compromise.
Working out with your kids may not burn as many calories as a trip to the gym or a long run outside, but it will leave you feeling good about yourself and also help to build on some one-on-one (or -two or -three) time with you and your kids. Most kids are more than thrilled to get out there and play with you — you just need to come up with a fun way to get them engaged while you burning some calories!
Here are the 10 fun ways to workout with your kids:
- Choose your favorite workout DVD (or check on-demand) and invite the kids to join you. If it requires weights, give them two shampoo bottles or soup cans.
- Find a “mini workout” online and invite the kids to join you. You can find some great examples here for arms, hips and thighs or here for abs.
- Lace up your shoes and take the kids for a bike ride. Run with them and push the littlest in the stroller.
- Create a “challenge workout”. Say, “I bet you can’t do 20 jumping jacks!” and while they are accepting your challenge, you do 25. Pick 10-15 exercises and challenge your kids to beat you. Invite them to come up with new challenges for each other.
- Make an obstacle course in the yard. Create obstacles to jump over, run around and climb on.
- Make some old-school PE style workout stations in the house or in the yard. Some station ideas are: run in place, jumping jacks, squats, high knees, push ups and crunches. Spend one minute at each station. If your kids get bored of the “grown up” workouts, set out some of their toys at each station for them to play with while you get your sweat on.
- Take the kids to the kids to the park and do some pull ups on the monkey bars. Run up and down stairs a few times, do some lunges around the perimeter of the playground and you can call it complete.
- Have a race with your kids. Go to a field or any open space and challenge your kids to a series of races. Do mini ones to keep their attention. Make sure to bring plenty of water!
- Take a swim in the pool. Swimming burns a ton of calories and even if you have little ones, you can still swim around them and get in a decent workout while everyone stays cool!
- When all else fails: bribery works well. Have a treadmill or an elliptical at home? Put on a 30 minute show for the kids, do your run and then do a fun activity together as a reward for them behaving. If you have little ones that can’t be left in one room while you are in another, bring them in with you and set them up with an activity.
You may not get your best workout in with your kids, but everything counts! Shoot for 30 minutes and always reward the kids for a job well done after. Make some homemade fruit Popsicle and enjoy one together after your workout. It will give them an incentive next time you need to sneak in a quick workout!