They’re not an obstacle. They’re motivation.
Parents can attest that when kids are in the picture, finding the time and energy to exercise can be a challenge. There’s also the question of what to do when young kids have to tag along. Rather than seeing kids as an obstacle to exercise, how about seeing them as motivation? For one thing, kids of all ages need exercise, too. Exercise can be more fun with others, it’s a great way to spend quality time together, and it’ll improve your health, give you more energy, and help you be a better parent in the long run.
Don’t let your kids be another excuse not to exercise. While you may not be able to fit in an hour at the gym, there are ways to maximize the time you do have, even if it’s 20 minutes. Think of it this way: you may not be lifting weights or running on the treadmill, but you can lead an active lifestyle as a family.
Here are six ideas to stay fit and active with the kids at any age or stage in life.
1. Throw a Dance Party
No more sitting around staring at a screen. It’s time to get up and move! Turn on your favorite tunes and have a family dance session. Sing along if you know the words, make up a choreographed dance to go with the music, or just boogie down. Do this for 10 to 15 minutes and you’ll get your heart pumping and your legs jumping!
2. After-Dinner Walks
Families who make it a priority to eat dinner together can make it a habit to burn calories together once the dishes are cleared and the leftovers put away. Go for a walk around the neighborhood and push the little ones in a stroller. When everyone’s old enough, switch things up and go for a bike ride instead.
3. Yard Work
Involve the kids in gardening and keeping up the yard. Let them shovel snow, sweep the porch, rake leaves, pick up sticks, or pull weeds. Make it a competition to see who can collect the largest pile or pay them a penny for every stick they pick up.
4. Chore Time
Cleaning house isn’t all mom’s responsibility. Each child should be given a few age-appropriate chores to accomplish each day or week. No more Saturdays spent sitting around watching movies all day. The whole family can stay active keeping the house in order. Vacuuming, changing sheets, folding laundry, or mopping the floor are good ways to get your blood flowing and you heart pumping.
5. Fitness Video Games
Enjoy a bit of friendly competition with your kids while playing interactive video games. The Wii system offers games and activities like Just Dance, Frisbee golf, yoga, kickboxing, or bowling that require you to move rather than sit on the couch.
Elementary-age kids and up are old enough to learn sports. Find a sport you can practice together and make it part of your daily or weekly routine. Shoot hoops, play tennis, get a group together and play whiffle ball or kickball, play catch, or train for a 5K.
7. Exercise Tips with Kids
To ensure your workout time is a success, bring along extra water and snacks so everyone stays hydrated and happy. Make the time enjoyable by interacting with your kids in a positive way while exercising. And go out of your way to praise their efforts and encourage them so they don’t feel like a third wheel.