Finding time to exercise when you have young kids at home is hard. So hard. Most days I’m either too tired to work-out or I just really don’t have the time.
I’m working on finding the time though. I’m realizing that the time I devote to increasing my fitness level will make me more productive in other areas of my life. As moms, taking care of ourselves has to be a priority. When we are exhausted and burned out we aren’t any good to anyone else.
With young kids at home, working out requires some creative solutions though. For me that often means I’m exercising with my kids (which is a challenge all by itself). It has it’s perks though. Exercising with your kids is a great way to teach them healthy habits that they’ll carry with them into adulthood. It’s great for motivation too because I know my kids aren’t going to let me off the hook if I decide I’m feeling too lazy to exercise that day.
Here are some of my favorite ways to exercise with my kids:
1. Go walking. This is one of my favorite ways to ease back into an exercise routine (and after a twin pregnancy and months of bedrest I’m definitely easing in) and it’s super easy to do with your kids. Take the change to do some exploring. We speedwell around the zoo, search out new hiking trails, and find the most scenic walking spots near our home. Everyone loves it!
2. Go on a Playground Hunt. This is a hit with my younger kids. They love to discover new playgrounds so we’ll find one we haven’t been to (or haven’t been to in a while) then park a little ways away. With a new playground as their reward at the end of our walk, my kids are more than happy to keep up a good pace and it’s a great way to wear everyone out.
3. Join a Kid-Friendly Gym. If you have older kids, many gyms or recreation centers will allow kids on some of the cardio and weight machines. Our local YMCA allows kids ages 7 and up on selected equipment so my boys love going over and working out with me. They are developing healthy habits right along side me and it’s turning into a bit of a competition about who can lift more weight. I’m currently winning . . . for now.
4. Play tag. My kids love playing tag and this game definitely gets you moving! If you want a bit more of a workout, be on the same “team” as a younger child and carry that child while you play. Carrying around my 2 year old is great exercise for my out of shape muscles and she loves it.
5. Take a family yoga class. Yoga is easy to adapt for multiple skill levels and many places offer family yoga classes that everyone can participate in together. Check to see if a class is offered in your local area or do a yoga video together at home.
6. Go swimming. Swimming is great exercise and learning to swim is such an important skill to have (as we learned the hard way). Put younger kids in a life jacket and pull them along as you walk laps in the pool. You’ll be surprised at how hard your muscles will have to work. If you have kids who can swim, play a game of water tag or Marco Polo.
7. Go on a family bike ride. I always loved taking bike rides as a kid. It’s a great activity to do as a family and really gets you moving. If you have younger kids, put them in a bike trailer and let them enjoy the ride. The Tule Chariot bike trailers are some of the best out there. If you want something a bit more compact, my absolute favorite is the Yepp bike seat. They also make a mini Yepp bike seat that goes on your front handlebars. My toddler used one of these before I got pregnant with the twins and it made it so easy to ride my bike with her.
8. Do playground pull ups. Monkey bars are perfect for practicing your pull ups. See how many you can do (or in my case, if you can do any) while your kids play. My kids like to try and do pull ups with me and it’s fun to see them increasing their arm strength.
9. Have a push up contest. Push ups are great exercises. I really feel them in my core the next day, which is one of the areas I need to strengthen. My kids love trying to do more push ups than I can do (and at almost 12 and 9 my oldest two are already making my post c-section muscles look bad). We’ll have impromptu push up contests for a few minutes in the morning after everyone gets dressed or whenever my kids need to get rid of some energy.
Exercising with your kids doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep an eye out for fun ways you can get a work-out in as a family and above all just get moving.
Do you ever exercise with your kids? What are your favorite active activities to do together?
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