As moms we take on a lot- chaperone, lunch lady, boo boo healer, playmate, cheerleader, bedtime-story-reader…
Being a mom is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, jobs out there and it’s often difficult to fit everything in.
If we don’t take care of ourselves we end up feeling tired, moody and we’re just not at our best for our kids or ourselves. A lot of us, though, end up having mom guilt when we take time away to do things that make us feel balanced and healthy.
So let’s ditch the mom guilt and talk about how to exercise with kids!
#1 Take it to the park
Parks with playgrounds offer tons of opportunities to get exercise with your kids and it can be super fun for all of you!
C’mon… when was the last time you played around on the monkey bars? Getting creative with your kiddos about how to fit in some exercise is great modeling and an awesome way to spend time together.
Here are some ideas for ways to get exercise with your kids at the park:
- Use a park bench for push-ups and triceps dips… go for 3 rounds of 10 for each. You can do it!
- Try some pull-ups on those monkey bars 😉
- Jog around the playground while your kids are playing- 10 laps sounds good right? Right!
- Come up with a challenge with your kids, like an obstacle course around the playground. Have fun with it and enjoy being both active and silly with your littles. You’ll be establishing habits and creating memories that all of you will cherish!
Check out Map of Play (https://mapofplay.kaboom.org/) to find parks and play spaces near you.
#2 Sign up for a Fun Run
If your kids are old enough find a local fun run to do together!
These races aren’t very long and are fairly inexpensive so the whole family can participate.
If your kiddo’s legs are still a little too short for a fun run consider entering a 5k race to either walk or jog with your wee-one in the jogging stroller.
As a mom training for marathons our jogging stroller was my number one go-to when it came to getting my runs in and maintaining balance (sanity!).
Back to fun runs…
There are a ton of really clever running-oriented activities out there for kids and families these days, here are a few examples:
- The Zombie Chase– Zombies chase you and your kids through an obstacle course. Fun, no?
- Mud runs like The Dirty Dash
- The Foam Run– An obstacle course filled with foam. How awesome does that sound?!
Here’s a great resource (https://www.active.com/) for finding races and events like these near you.
#3 Go for a pre or post dinner walk
There are some really awesome benefits to taking an evening stroll…
- Helps you feel relaxed- Even a short walk in the evening can help clear your mind, give you time to reflect on your day and get your bodies moving in the fresh air.
- Helps your digestion- Getting the blood moving can help your body process dinner more easily.
- Can help you (and your kids) sleep better- Feeling more relaxed after a nice walk can help everyone get a better night’s sleep. That’s a win all around!
- Weight loss- Even a short daily walk can add enough extra movement to your life to make a difference with shedding a few pounds.
Aside from these great benefits, an evening walk with your kids also offers a special opportunity to talk about their day. What a great way to end the day by getting in some exercise together and spending focused time listening and sharing!
#4 Make commercial time challenge time!
I know, it can be difficult to pry your kids away from an episode of Daniel Tiger. Or maybe you’re enjoying some Simpsons reruns together…
Instead of wrestling the remote out of sticky little fingers to switch gears and get some activity in, get creative with commercial breaks!
Too much TV time can lead to weight problems for our kids (http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/tv-affects-child.html), so this strategy is a great way to combat that risk and get in some exercise together.
Here are some ideas!
- Run in place for an entire commercial- Get silly and do “sprints”, get those knees up high… get those little (and big) legs pumping!
- Do some jumping jacks together
- Any floor exercises are great like sit-ups and push-ups
- Wall-sits- These are an awesome isometric way to do some sculpting during commercial time! Check out the short video below for a great how-to for these and come up with your own wall-sit challenges with the kids.
#5 Make an obstacle course in your yard
There is definitely a theme with these tips… Get creative!
You and your kids can have a lot of fun with both planning and doing this activity. I recommend making signs for each stop in your course- do 20 jumping jacks followed by crawl to the next sign and do 10 push ups for example.
Other activities you can include are:
- Hula hooping
- Jumping rope
- Bear crawl (walk around on ‘all fours’ using your feet and hands)
- High knees marching
- Dribbling a soccer ball around cones
For some more clever ideas, including obstacle course activities that are safe for little ones under 5, check out this resource. (http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20411950,00.html)
#6 Join a gym that offers kids’ programs
A lot of gyms offer childcare or even better yet, programs like 24-Hour Fitness’ Kids’ Club (https://www.24hourfitness.com/health_clubs/gym_day_care/).
You can bring your kids with you to the gym which again, is great modeling and can be a fun activity in and of itself!
Make a good time out of packing a gym bag together, getting your workout gear on and getting excited to go get some exercise. Incorporating activity like this in to your family’s routine creates a culture of health and fitness that will benefit all of you.
You can also look for community based classes (remember Jazzercise?) through your local recreation centers or parks and recreation programs that let kids join in.
You can find community recreation centers in your area with this resource. (http://recreation-centers.find-near-me.info/).
#7 Try out the newest craze: Ninja Warrior gyms
These gyms are popping up everywhere and a lot of them have kids’ programs.
American Ninja Warrior is a popular show featuring athletes working their way through obstacle courses and competing in exciting physical challenges. The popularity of this show has lead to a recent fitness trend of gyms popping up with recreations of these obstacle courses so that anyone can train to be a Ninja Warrior.
It turns out that these gyms are having most of their success with their kids’ classes and activities! (http://fortune.com/2017/01/06/so-you-want-to-be-an-american-ninja-warrior/).
Kids are becoming more active and hitting gyms to model their ambitions after athletes on TV. Pretty cool trend don’t you think?
This looks like a really fun and challenging way to mix up your workouts and have a blast with your kids.
Here’s a great directory of Ninja Warrior gyms. (http://www.mudrunguide.com/american-ninja-warrior/anw-training-gyms/directory/).
#8 Got a trampoline? Go jump!
Seriously, when was the last time you jumped on a trampoline? Not only will it unleash your inner kiddo and provide a super fun time, but even 15 minutes of jumping around is great cardio.
Aside from offering an awesome opportunity to burn some calories, trampoline time can also give your abs, legs and glutes a great workout!
Jumping on a trampoline is low-impact (compared to running for example) so it’s also easy on your joints.
And, it turns out, jumping or rebounding as it’s also called can be great for your lymph and immune systems and can help remove toxins from your body. Who knew? (https://www.livestrong.com/article/395958-which-muscles-does-a-trampoline-work-out/)
For an awesome and fun trampoline workout you can do with your kids check out this resource. (https://draxe.com/trampoline-workout/)
#9 Sign up for a Mommy and Me Class
There are some really interesting and fun options out there for these types of classes.
Mamalates, for example, is a “Pilates-based exercise method that focuses on alignment, stability, and safely reclaiming your core: all while working out with baby!” (https://mamalates.com/pages/mamalates).
Some other great Mommy and Me programs with locations all over are:
- Fit4Mom (https://fit4mom.com/locations)- This awesome resource offers programs for moms with babies like Stroller Strides, Stroller Barre and Run Club.
- Baby Boot Camp (https://www.babybootcamp.com/mommy-and-me-fitness-exercise-classes-near-me/)- These programs, lead by nationally certified fitness professionals, offer exercise classes, nutrition and community support for moms.
- Hike It Baby (https://hikeitbaby.com)- This group has over 300 branches and is all about getting out and hiking in nature with your littles! Don’t have a branch in your area? Start your own! It’s easy to connect and become a Hike It Baby ambassador in your area.
There are also Mommy and Me yoga classes, aerobics classes, aquatic activities… you name it! A simple Google search of “mommy and me fitness classes near me” will likely turn up some great options in your area.
#10 Grab a few things for working out at home
A mat, a set of dumbbells, some bands, a jump rope… these can be inexpensive items, especially if you hit some garage sales or used sports equipment stores.
There are so many ways to get exercise right at home, especially with a few pieces of simple equipment. You can do this while your kids are hanging out watching or, better yet, get them to join in!
Again, the opportunity to model healthy habits and share time together doing something great is priceless. You can have a lot of fun coming up with creative ways to exercise together and make things interesting with challenges and rewards for “winning”.
For a fun workout you can do with your kiddos and just a couple of mats check out this video!
So what do you think?
Did you enjoy these ideas? Did they get your wheels turning about how to exercise with your kids?
I know that as a mom it’s really difficult to fit everything in to our busy days. I also know how very important, no- crucial! it is to be your best self for yourself and ultimately for your children.
Leave the guilt behind about doing what’s truly best for you and your family- taking time to take care of you. Check out your local area for things to do with your family, get moving and remember to have fun!
Tell us what you think in the comments below and if you liked this article go ahead and share it!