Any parent knows that it can be difficult to find time to workout. Between after school activities, housework, meal prep, shopping, homework, and your own work, it can be difficult to fit in anything extra. However, if you have kids, it becomes even more important to find ways to workout. Children pick up their habits from their parents, both good and bad. Maintaining an active lifestyle sets a good example for your kids. Instilling good habits early on can ensure that these habit last a lifetime.
One of the easiest ways to find time to workout when you have kids is to include the kids in the workout. While many traditional workouts are suitable for adults and children, there are lots of fun ways to turn family workouts into a game. Making your work out fun is a great way to keep young children entertained and engaged. Try out some of these fun, kid friendly activities to make sure your whole family gets in a great workout.
Family Activity #1: Take a walk.
Sometimes, when it comes to fitting a family activity into your daily routine, the quick and easy solution works best. If you do not have time to plan an elaborate workout, grab the kids and take an evening walk around the neighborhood. Walking is one of our favorite exercises. It is suitable for participants of all fitness levels and has been shown to improve posture and circulation. Especially in today’s culture, it can be easy to get caught up in work, school, or housework and inadvertently spend your entire day inside. Going for a walk is the perfect way to get some fresh air. This works even with very young children. Bring the stroller and let them ride when they get tired of walking.
Family Activity #2: Make your own bootcamp.
If going for a walk is too tame for your energetic family, consider increasing the difficulty level by designing your own family friendly boot camp. Have each family member list a few of their favorite bodyweight exercises, such as push ups, jumping jacks, squats, or planks. Make a list of these exercises. Then, take your family out on a walk or jog. Every 60 seconds, stop and spend 30 seconds doing the next bodyweight exercise on the list. This can greatly increase the difficulty level of the jog while still keeping your family together and participating in age appropriate exercises.
Family Activity #3: Exercise egg hunt.
If the weather is bad and your family is stuck inside the house, you can use an Easter egg hunt to modify the boot camp idea. Write each exercise on your list on a slip of paper and then place it in a plastic Easter egg. Hide these eggs around your house and let the kids search for them. Each time a child finds an egg, your whole family must stop and complete the exercise written on the slip of paper. For some exercises, this might be a certain number of repetitions (such as 25 jumping jacks. For other exercises, this might be a time a time limit (30 second plank.)
Family Activity #4: Jumping rope.
This will not work with very small kids, but once your kids are old enough to play with a jump rope, jumping rope can be a great way to exercise for the whole family. The kids will love seeing mom and dad jump rope and will have a blast playing double dutch or working on jump rope tricks. Parents will be surprised to find that a few minutes of jumping rope can be a great way to fit some cardio into your day.
Family Activity #5: Bike ride.
Another way to get your whole family moving is to go on a bike ride together. If you have bike paths nearby, you can go for a ride through a nearby park or along a river. If not, riding around the neighborhood can serve the same purpose. If you have a very small child, invest in a seat that attaches to the back of your bike. Older kids can ride along beside you, getting a great workout while also having fun.
While these suggestions are a great place to start, do not limit yourself to these ideas. Almost any physical activity can be turned into a workout, from cleaning the house to walking to school in the morning. Use these ideas and more to plan workouts that your whole family will enjoy.