Working Out With Children {4 workouts to try}

Motherhood is awesome – when else do you get to play Bingo with edible markers? – but between the “mommy tax” on fruit snacks, the sacks of leftover Halloween candy and having to be in the kitchen half your life, it’s a job that can be tough on your waistline. And we won’t even talk about the damage the little butterballs do to our stomachs while they’re inside them. Maybe that’s why research says that moms gain an average of 7 pounds per kid? So to counteract that we’re told to eat healthier and exercise more – usually by people who don’t have to deal with an infant every 30 minutes at night. Unforgiving Spandex + chronic exhaustion + an unpredictable yet packed schedule = goodbye gym. Fortunately you don’t need to give up your workouts just because you roll with a posse of little people. As a mom of 5, I’ve found a few tricks to working out with kids.

Rolling down the hill is the fun part, hiking back up it with 4 kids (and a random sleeping bag) is the workout!

The Monkey Bar Gym Workout

1. The Monkey Bar Gym workout. You’re already at the park every day the weather is decent so why not exercise yourself along with the kiddos? A playground has everything you need to make a great cardio and strength circuit – plus your kids will think you are the coolest mom ever for getting up there with them. There is an actual “Monkey Bar Gym workout” that puts up a new workout on their site every day (for free!) or you can make up your own by alternating upper and lower body exercises (like lunges with your back foot up on a stair and push-ups on bench) and then running a couple of sprints up the stairs and down the slide. Hint: yell, “Tag I’m it!” and your kids will got nuts. Tag is an amazing workout, frankly.

Doing yoga with my kids while waiting for the airport shuttle. And yes that’s Airplane Pose – I’m very literal:)

Yoga

2. Yoga. Can’t go outside? Kids are naturals at yoga and will love to do Down Dog and Tree Pose with you. Plus it adds a level of difficulty when every time you hold plank, someone jumps on your back (that’ll teach you to keep your abs tight!). Look for free videos online or on Netflix or pay a small fee to download a professional class from a site like YogaDownload. You can find everything from gentle beginner workouts to post-natal mom and baby videos to hardcore shake-and-sweat Power Yoga. Hint: This workout lends itself well to pajamas!

Mommy and Me Classes

3. Mommy and me classes. Many gyms and community centers offer programs like “Stretch and Stroll” at the mall, parent-child swim classes, family boot camps, and other classes specifically designed to bring your kids along with you. Hint: This is a great way to make mommy friends – health and sanity savers for sure.

Our kids love working in the garden with us. And by working I mean trampling sprouts, hitting each other with shovels and collecting worms.

Get In There With Them

4. Get in there with them. Kids are naturally active so don’t get stuck on the sidelines checking your e-mail on your phone – sign up to coach the soccer team, get in the pool during swim lessons, jump rope, hula hoop, play baseball, shoot hoops, jump on the trampoline (remember to pee first if you birthed your babies) and ride bikes. Your kids will love the time with you, at least until they’re tweens and then you’re embarrassing so go away already. Hint: Don’t worry about embarrassing yourself or looking dumb in front of the other adults. Kids are remarkably forgiving and chances are some other parents will jump in too when they see you go for it.

What’s your favorite tip for working out with your kids?

More Home Workout Ideas

This is my last post in this fitness series for Tip Junkie so if you’d like to read more about my crazy workout antics, crazy kids or crazy life, come join me at my blog The Great Fitness Experiment or check out my book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything.

4 Comments

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  1. This is really interesting! Thank you for sharing…those are some ways of working out that i have never thought of. It is really hard to work out with kids! But I will have to try these!

  2. These are awesome! We’re so blessed to have a nice big green park right outside our house where we can take the kids. I love to get on the monkey bar with them whenever I have my days off from the gym. Definately helps building some strength and gives me some quality time with my kids. Love the hula hoop idea, that would burn some calories too! Fantastic.

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