When you are juggling between the kids’ schedules, work and household chores, overwhelmed parents can often find it a challenge to carve out dedicated blocks of time for exercise. (Besides, have you ever tried to breathe like a yogi and do the Sun Salutation while a two-year-old is trying to climb on your back, like, over and over again?)
So, rather than swim against an impossible tide, why not just roll with it? Change the way you think about exercise; rather than think of working out only as a 30-minute spell at the treadmill or a 20-minute weight-lifting session, make exercise a part of an active lifestyle and rope in the entire family so that it becomes something fun that you can all do together. Not only do you get to spend more quality time with the kids this way, but you are also inculcating in them a healthy attitude towards physical activity from an early age. After all, research has shown that our modern lifestyles are becoming much too sedentary so you’ll be doing your children a massive favour by making this part of their regular routine. Besides, all the fun, physical activity will not only help to develop your children’s motor skills, but it will also build up their muscles and strengthen their heart and lungs.
Here are some interesting and creative ways to get in a healthy workout as a family — and lose the ‘mum bod’ (and ‘dad bod’ too) in the process. Most importantly, you’ve got to have fun!
Dance Up a Storm
When you have toddlers at home, who needs a Zumba class? Seriously, drop your laundry basket and for 15 to 20 minutes, simply put on some upbeat dance tunes and rock it out with the little ones. (You can easily burn up to 115 calories dancing for just 20 minutes.) Kids love to dance with wild abandonment and they’ll love it more when their mum and dad gets in on the action. Bonus: You may just tire them out enough that they will go to bed without a fight, for once!
Go for a Daily Stroll After Dinner
These days, the family activity of choice post-dinnertime is more often than not to plonk ourselves down in front of the television screen or worse, retire to our own private spaces to stare at our personal smart devices. Instead, kids can help with the dishes and take out the trash, and as a family take a leisurely walk (or bike) around the neighbourhood. If there’s a park or playground within walking distance, all the better. Alternatively, you can do this before dinnertime, if that’s what suits your family better. The point is to get everyone outside and doing something active rather than just sitting down after a meal — even if it is just for a 20-minute walk.
Jog, Bike and Roll
If your little one is still perfectly content being pushed around in a stroller, then use that to your advantage. Put on your running shoes (or in-line skates) and head over to the nearest park or beach. Your kid will enjoy the fresh air and view of the skies and the trees while you get in some much-needed exercise. Besides, pushing your stroller while running adds resistance and burns even more calories! If biking is more your thing, you’re in luck. All you need is to purchase and mount a baby/child bike seat and you can take your kid on a ride and keep fit at the same time.
Try New Activities
Every weekend, find something new to try out as a family. You will be surprised by how much interesting and fun stuff there is available that will get your heart pumping and your metabolism going. For example, you can take the family for a fun morning at an indoor rock-climbing gym or go bouncing at a trampoline park. Or how about spending a day kayaking (and bring along a lovely picnic to enjoy)? Arrange for a class on inline- or ice-skating, or go for a bike ride on a brand new cycling route or trail. You’ll be surprised by how much you can bond as a family experiencing something new every week. And just think about all the fun memories you will have to look back on. And who knows, you may all find something that you love so much that it becomes a traditional family pastime.
Sign Up for a Charity Walk (or Run)
Go online or check out your local newspaper to find out when about your town or city’s next charity walk. Doing a charity walk/run is not only a wonderful way to get in some exercise as a family, but it is also an excellent opportunity to teach your kids what it means and how it feels give back to their community. By setting an example as parents and by being around other people who are supporting a good cause, you are hopefully setting your children up with positive values and a propensity toward helping others in need.