6 fail-proof tips on how to workout with your kids.. and actually workout!
If there were two things that I’ve heard most women and mums complain about it’s:
1. we complain we are time poor ( kids or not, we are busier than ever in the history of busy! )
2. we don’t feel confident in our own bodies ( beating ourselves up and fear of judgement )
So things like fitness and eating healthily become a bit fuzzy as we let life ( and ourselves ) get in the way. Initially, I was a ‘woman and wife’ first, and now ‘wom-mum of two boys' second, my personal life experience has allowed me to find some ways to 1) make time in an already manic schedule and 2) come to accept my imperfections. I gave birth to 2 little humans after all! But even so, kids or not, often we can still be super hard on ourselves to look a certain way, especially as we squeeze into our silly season party dresses.
So lets address the first complaint. “ I don’t have time”. Granted, some of us really don’t have time for a variety of reasons, but others, like me, who are busy could tweak their time management to make the time. I’m asking a minimum of 15mins of your time to exercise. That's all.
Secondly, lets address the second complaint, thoughts like “ I hate myself in my gym gear” or “ I need to look fit to go to the gym..” or “I hate people seeing me jog in public..”. Whatever the self sabotage dialogue maybe, it can stop us from pursuing our right to be fit and healthy. As females, we are very good at comparing ourselves to other women and being ashamed of our bodies, which are quite frankly miraculous machines no matter what size or shape you are. But when we buddy up with like minded people and put the fear aside, you’d be amazed how amazing you will feel and what you can achieve.
I like to say ‘working out with your kids’ is doable, and in fact it can be win win experience for both you and your kids. It can also be done in the privacy of your own home and in your PJs if you so desire. But working out ‘with’ kids isn’t for everyone. Not all kids will get with the program. I too love some peace and quiet away from the boys and like the opportunity to focus solely on one thing for a short period ( a bit like going to the loo without small children observing my every ‘movement’ ). But on those days when you really have no choice then the quality of your workout really depends on a few things including the age and mood of your children on the day, so preparing your workout environment is key.
In my experience, where my boys are particularly young, very mobile, don’t always take direction (if at all) and are super demanding, you could say ‘working out with my kids’ has been a real journey of trials, interruptions, tribulations, laughter, tears ( mine ), puke and nappy changes (not mine). The point is though, working out with your kids is not meant to be perfect, it is however meant to be fun! Also, short high intensity workouts are very effective, achievable and can be done at any time of the day. They are really and truly a busy woman’s best friend. And when you have kids to entertain, it can be a good use of time and can be an activity you can all participate in ( if you or they chose to )
I have found ways of making the 15mins really count indoors when you have no choice but to do a workout when your kids are around.
1. Choose the right time of day that suits you and the kids. If your kids get scratchy in the afternoon, like mine, then morning workouts might be best for everyone. Or if you like running or walking, you could use the afternoons for a stroller workout outside.
2. Find a room where there is enough space for you to workout in and for the kids to roam and play.
3. Contain your children ( ha! easier said than done right?! ) in a room with you ie: close the door or put a child gate up. If you have a crawling baby, at least you know they can’t escape. Clear the room of anything potentially dangerous. If your kids are anything like mine, they are into everything! arrrgghh!!
4. If your kids are curious and want to climb all over you during your workout then go with it, in fact encourage it! It’s a great example to set for your kids. They will learn the importance of being healthy because of YOU! Use them in your workout too if you like. eg: my 1 year old is a good weight to hold when doing squats. My 3.5yr old loves sitting on my back like a horse, so I use his weight to add resistance to my floor exercises. But the key here is to always ensure your core is engaged. As a mum who struggled with lower back pain and a weak core, it’s important to move carefully as your kids jump about, don’t injure yourself!
5. Dare I say it, but if they don’t want to participate and are bored, offer them a treat to watch their favorite tv show, or play on the iPad! It’s only 15mins.
6. And if working out with kids just isn’t for you, or them, then book in your exercise like a regular meeting. Make it a habit. Keep it as non negotiable. Have your partner, friend or flatmate ( or whoever! ) help with watching the kids for 15mins. It’s a very reasonable request.
I’d love to hear from you! Tell me what workouts you do with your kids? Please comment below!