Everyone knows that exercising is important, but when you’ve got some little ones running around it can be really hard to find the time to work out. Sometimes, it’s simply not possible to get away from the kids for a few hours to hit the gym (let’s be honest, it’s not always possible to find the budget to pay for a gym membership either). Here are some ideas, though, for helping you incorporate exercise into your day, even with the kids around!
Need to elevate that heart rate? Investing in a jogging stroller can make it possible for you to get out of the house and work out with the kids in tow!
I don’t know if this is every baby, but when I go outside, it always helps calm my baby down when they’re throwing a fit. Sometimes the fall asleep, sometimes not, but I never took a baby outside and they didn’t calm down the crying, especially when I’m walking or running (as opposed to just standing still).
If your kids are a little older than the baby stage, it can also be a lot of fun to do fitness videos with them! My kids like to try to follow along with me on my video workouts, like Yoga, Zumba, or Tae Bo, but they also have Fitness DVDs in all three of those categories for kids, so they can have fun doing it, and I can do it with them! We especially like doing the dancing videos because my kids LOVE dancing! They don’t really follow the people on the video, but hey! The point is is moving, right?
Playing tag is probably one of the best cardio workouts you can get. You can easily do intervals where you switch between sprinting (when you’re chasing) and running slower (when they’re chasing you). It’s also great for building familial relationships, which is what parenthood is all about anyway.
One thing I recommend: Try having your kids be on a team. I have to tag both of my kids before they tag me, and they get to tag me together (only one of them has to touch me before I’m “it” again). I do this so that I’m “it” more, which means I get more cardio in, and it also builds teamwork between my two children; they work together to tag me by trapping me in corners and such. I’m all about teaching them to be unified!
Run While the Kids Are at the Park:
Sometimes when I take the kids to the playground, they will play on the slides and swings while I run laps around the perimeter. It’s a nice way that I can keep an eye on them while also getting in some cardio. We’ll see some strength training exercises later that also take place at the playground, so I’ll do intervals where I’ll do strength training (usually involving a kid) and then go do some laps and back again.
Clean the House Cardio:
I’m a HUGE fan of incorporating kids into cleaning. I want to teach them from an early age that cleaning is important, that they’re expected to help out since they are a part of the family, and that cleaning can be fun (no shade if you pay your kids to do chores, but I don’t happen to for chores that are a part of daily living in the house; I’ll pay for extras like cleaning out the gutters, but not dishes and laundry).
One of the most fun ways to clean the floor is to get those re-usable Swiffer Pads (we have them for a Shark floor cleaner). They’re designed to velcro onto the bottom of the Swiffer or Shark. Instead, we velcro them onto our feet! Then put on some dance music, throw some soapy water on the floor, and you’ve got a mopping dance party that will get your floor clean and your heart rate elevated!
Dance Party Cardio!
Throw on the tunes and get dancing! Kids love dancing and have no idea what cool looks like (depending on how young they are)! Right now my kids are really into Imagine Dragons (my 4 year old’s favorite) and the Trolls soundtrack (my 6 year old’s favorite).
Incorporating strength training is actually the easiest for me because with very little time you can incorporate a lot of exercise. One thing I will suggest is wearing tennis shoes throughout the day, even if you have a pair of clean ones that you can wear in the house. Wearing tennis shoes puts you in an active mindset; mindset is everything. It also sets an “I’m going to be more active today” intention for the day when you go through it wearing active wear.
Incorporate the Kids Into the Workout
Have you ever done leg lifts? It’s not that hard to lift your leg off the ground. Have you ever tried doing leg lifts with a child hanging onto your legs? WAY HARDER! I’ll have one of my kids grab a leg and then lift them up and down, up and down, and then tell them to switch legs. It’s like a ride for my kids! Then I’m exhausted. And then, of course, my other kid comes up, “Can I have a turn?!” I didn’t think I could, but I can’t leave this kid out, so now a second set will push my muscles farther than they thought they could go and prove to my children that I love them both equally!
Then the first kid asks for another turn. And… no.
Burpees on the Swings:
My kids love swinging on the swings, and they still prefer me to push them. I can do burpees in between each push! My goal is to finish the burpee before they swing back to me, so I have to do them kinda fast. Mind you, I don’t do the push up or the jump at the end. I put my hands on the floor, jump feet out to plank position, jump feet back in, and go back to standing.
Make sure you don’t do your burpee too close to the kid that’s swinging. Please don’t get smacked in the face.
My kids think it’s hilarious when I bench press them. We can practice counting together when I do that, and it’s fun for me and math for them! I also like that the weight adds on slowly and gradually, so I naturally lift more weight as time goes on. I’ve got one kid who thinks it’s hilarious to, as I’m bench-pressing them, to stick their stinky feet in my face when my arms are fully extended! I’m hoping to upload a video of this soon; it cracks me up and grosses me out at the same time.
Arm Curls with Kids
In the same vein as the bench press, build those biceps by grabbing your kid underneath each of their arms and lifting them up, bending only the elbows. This isolates the biceps, and helps tone those arms. This is another opportunity to practice counting with the kiddos. Are they past counting? Try counting in Spanish!
Start small and build up! The biggest obstacle for me with exercise is getting out of my own head. Sometimes, I make New Year’s Resolutions that include things like 30 burpees every day for a year! And you know what? I fail. But still, that was two months of 30 burpees a day that I did complete. That’s like 180 burpees that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Who cares if I failed the entire goal? I still did a lot more exercise than I would have had I NOT made that goal!
Energy begets energy and the more I keep moving, the more movement I seem to have to spare (if not, then it’s probably something I’m eating).
It’s more important to me to model to my kids that activity and time with them are a priority, that health is a priority, and that they should want to do it, too, because I’m having fun. I want to be remembered as the mom who said YES to “Will you play with me?” more often than she said NO. Incorporating these little bits of activity throughout the day are powerful and effective; it does not matter if you can’t fit in all your exercise in one giant sitting. Don’t let that stop you from doing one thing.
Just one thing.
So let’s get moving!