Thursday, October 15, 2009

6 ways to exercise with small children

As the parent of young children, one of the hardest challenges to getting in exercise is finding the time to work out. If you're lucky, you belong to a gym that provides childcare for your children (but you still have to find time to get to the gym.) I don't belong to a gym at all, so have find ways to get all my miles/minutes in at home. Here are some suggestions for doing it with children:
  • Dance with them. You know those channels that play just music on the tv? Find the techno one, crank it up loud, and dance. (Or use your iPod, if you have one.) There are tons of kids songs out there about getting moving and dancing as well. For example, Yo Gabba Gabba's Get the Sillies Out or I Like to Dance or The Fresh Beat Band's Loco Legs.
  • Get out and take a walk. We live about a mile from a small playground and a mile and a half from an elementary school. I can load up the boys in the wagon and walk there, let them play for a while, and come home. There's 2 or 3 miles right there. (Of course this only works if there isn't snow on the ground, but perhaps you live in a warmer climate.)
  • Have your children do an exercise video with you. Can't you imagine toddlers doing jumping jacks? How cute! (Of course, this may also start your child on a lifetime of weight obsession, so be careful that you emphasis the health aspect not the weight.)
  • Jump rope, bike rides, roller blading, soccer, tennis- all those sports things! This does require good weather and plenty of space, but if you have those things go for it. Your kids can benefit from the activity as much as you do.
  • Strollertime: A Complete Workout With Baby in Tow. I never did this one, but it looks like a lot of fun. There was a group of women at our favorite park every Saturday doing it.
  • And last, use your child AS the exercise. Literally. Lay on the floor and let Junior help you do cruches. Use Baby as a weight while doing lunges or lift him over your head as a free weight. (Use caution and good judgment, please! And if you figure out what to do with those dangly arms and legs let me know, this never worked for me.)

So there ya go, 6 ways to still get your miles in while living with small children. Do you have any other ideas? What works for you?


Amanda said...

I love dancing with my kids. Hmm...maybe I'll do that t his afternoon.

Lisa said...

I love that toddlers will dance about anything, I just have to remember to get up and dance WITH him!

Sandy Nawrot said...

When my kids were little, I was all about the stroller. They loved to go for walks, we got fresh air, and it was great exercise!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

Can you bind those arms and legs to make them a tube? Haha--just kidding.

My parents always did outdoorsy things with us when we were little. Since it was fun for us, we never even thought about it being exercise for them (and us, I guess).

Great tips, Lisa. I especially like the dancing one.

Momma Hunt said...

Thanks for the advice, with my two year old I sometimes have a hard time fitting in all the exercise