Bottom line is to involve your whole family and to enjoy getting fit together…
Parents, we’ve all been there: the thirty minutes in the gym at work after dropping the kids off at school, or the boot camp sessions you spend worrying about your little ones, who are fighting in the corner of the room. These workouts are less than ideal. But luckily, there’s hope: working out alongside your children, instead of sweating it out when they’re not around, will strengthen your relationships, be a whole lot of fun, and—believe it or not—leave you sore the next day. With that in mind, here are five fun and totally doable ways to work out with your kids.
This may seem boring to kids (and, let’s face it, to you too). But by renaming typical exercises with funny and kid-friendly terms, workout time will become everyone’s favorite part of the day. Demonstrate for your kids how to do push-ups, sit-ups, squats, triceps dips, lunges, and Russian twists, and let them assign humorous monikers to each move. To make things even more interesting, write each exercise name on a piece of paper and take turns drawing the pieces out of a jar to determine what move you’ll perform next. Do fifteen reps of each exercise and aim for three rounds for a sweat sesh that will definitely leave you, well, sweaty.
If your kids play a sport, offer to practice with them—but with a twist. Maybe your son plays soccer for his high school team just like you did. Instead of teaching him, though, let him teach you. It’ll sharpen his skills to try to think of soccer techniques you don’t know, giving an effective workout to both brain and legs. You can also set up agility drills and do sprints, mimicking the extra conditioning your son’s coach assigns at practice. If your kids have no interest in heading to the court or field, go in the backyard and throw a Frisbee around, or make up a new game such as playing tag with pool noodles.
Find a nearby river or mountain and hit the trails! Any workout is improved by getting outside in nature. The benefits of hiking are numerous: it strengthens your leg and core muscles, lowers your risk of heart disease, and nature is good for your mental health (which most moms probably feel they could use a little more of). No hiking trails? No worries: walk or run on the track at your local high school or gym. If all else fails, take your dog on a walk around the neighborhood together; on rainy days, chase your kids through the house.
You don’t need expensive Zumba classes or even the Just Dance Wii game—simply pull up some YouTube videos of your favorite songs and boogie around the kitchen. It may not sound like the best exercise, but you’ll be out of breath sooner than you expected; dancing is a great aerobic exercise that gets your heart pumping, providing an important cardio workout. Ask your teen to teach you the latest dance moves. If you really want to see those eyes roll, demonstrate the moves that were popular when you were a kid.
Many families spend time parked in front of the TV at night and on the weekends. There’s nothing wrong with a little relaxation, but when you think about all the calories you’re not burning, you may be more motivated to put that time to good use! Take your kids’ favorite show and develop a workout that goes along with it: during the theme song, we do high knees. When character A says their signature phrase, we do ten plié squats. During the commercial break, let’s see how many crunches we can fit in. You could also try moving your treadmill or elliptical into the same room the TV is in.
Working out is often hard and boring, but it doesn’t need to be! Perform a bodyweight circuit with a fun twist, play sports, go for a hike, dance around the house, or work out while watching TV. Whatever you do, the bottom line is to involve your whole family and to enjoy getting fit together.