6 Ways to Work Out with Your KidsFebruary 19, 2021
Parents with toddlers and young children find it challenging to make time for themselves as a whole. And when it comes to exercise, it can fall to the wayside entirely. But instead of sacrificing your health, there are plenty of ways you can work out together and still spend time with them.
Instead of having grandma take care of them or leaving your kid at a childcare facility at the gym, why not share an activity that allows you to both work out? From playing tag to practicing yoga, here are six ways to work out with your kids.
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Cut a Rug
Dancing is an effortless way to work out with your kids. Put together a collection of songs that everyone enjoys and cut a rug. Little kids have some pretty crazy dance moves, but they’re moving their muscles and you’re both getting a cardio workout–that’s what’s important! Remember, this isn’t Dancing With the Stars. Invest in a comfortable pair of dance leggings and put on an aerobic dance workout YouTube video so you can both follow along with the instructor’s moves.
On the other hand, if your kids are old enough and interested in a specific style of dancing, then, by all means, encourage them! From hip-hop to ballet and tap dancing, there is something kids of all personalities can enjoy. In fact, instead of sitting on the sidelines snapping photos (although they make great memories), there are many mommy-and-me style and daddy-and-me style classes you can take right alongside with them. Before you know it, your kids will be putting on an interpretive dance show.
Give Me 10, Soldier
Strength training is important for kids, too! When you’re strapped for time and can only manage little bursts of exercises here and there, a quick 15-minute interval is a great way to trick kids and yourself into a workout. Create a way to alert them of a fast activity by saying “Give me ten,” promptly getting on the floor with them to complete the task.
Modify the strength training to your kids’ abilities. For instance, while you might be able to do traditional push-ups–with your toes on the floor and legs and back straight–your kid might have to use their knees. With a pair of hand weights and a one- to two-pound toy, you can both do chest presses, bicep curls and tricep curls. Just make sure to give kids a blunt non-sharp toy that can’t hurt if accidentally dropped. Better yet, swap it out with a filled water bottle or a soft bean bag. And remember to count together to reach that ten, soldier!
Go for a Run, Walk or Ride
This is one of the easiest ways to work out with your kids. Kids love exploring and it gets you and the entire family out of the house for some fresh air. Invite the kids along for a walk around the neighborhood or a bike ride in the park. Encourage them to do some quick running sprints with you. They may love it!
Of course, if your kid is still a preschooler and lacks coordination in the legs, they can always just ride along in a jogging stroller, bike seat or bike trailer. An enjoyable activity imprints the concept of a healthy lifestyle so that eventually, they might one day run or ride beside you. You can get them their own sneakers and a tricycle.
Another way to work out with your kids is to create a game out of it. Instead of saying “Let’s go for a walk or run,” you can convince/trick them into playing a chasing game. This can be anything from playing classic tag or capture the flag. And one thing’s for sure–running around in the yard will get everyone’s heart rate up. Plus, with the added challenge of chasing someone, darting and dodging about, you have to use some motor skills and quick thinking to catch them.
Opposite of chasing is practicing yoga. A more calm activity, yoga offers light aerobics through its practically countless asana poses. Put on your yoga pants, roll out your mat and invite your kid to try a few poses alongside you. Teach them a few basics by having them mirror your moves. Stretching and twisting, make a game out of it. Of course, yoga asanas have their Sanskrit names, but instead of teaching them “Adho mukha svanasana,” just call it a downward dog so they can associate the position with something and remember it easier.
Hit the Playground
Hit the playground to burn off some energy. Many playgrounds offer equipment like monkey bars and even rock-climbing walls that can be a great workout for moms and dads alike. Simply climbing around with your kids can tone your muscles and give you a decent cardio workout. Use the circuit routine to weave in and out of the playground equipment, tackling one series of exercises after the other.
Again, make a game out of it and pretend you’re ninjas or spies. Give chase and it will make the workout that much more fun–for you and them!
Extra Tips for Working Out with Kids
Each child is unique and has their own personality. Some kids may need to burn off more energy, while others are more introspective and might enjoy some quiet time.
When choosing ways to work out with your kids, you want to choose the appropriate activity for the age. Kids are still developing their motor skills, so it’s important to do activities that suit them. For example:
- 2-6 years–Convincing them to complete a specific workout with you might be a challenge. Instead, simply look for ways they can get involved with whatever you want to do. Allow them to sit in a stroller as you jog, etc.
- 7-12 years–This is when you begin to incorporate exercises by teaching them skills. Able to handle a bit more structure, kids can be convinced to walk or bike with you because they enjoy learning new things.
Once kids reach teenage years, they tend to have a mind of their own. They know what they like and may or may not join you. However, many kids at this age appreciate a good workout.