HOW TO EXERCISE WITH KIDS
Getting in some ‘me time’ to exercise can be a struggle for many mums with young children. So when exercising with your child is your only option, rest assure that it is a great option! You are tired, sleep deprived, really low on energy, have a needy baby who must be held at all times (and only by you), lack of money, don’t know what the heck you should be doing, self conscious, maybe you hate exercise and of course simply not having a babysitter. I speak with mums all the time who want to know ‘How do I exercise with my kids?’ I have put together these no/low-cost step-by-step mini-workouts that you can do with your baby/toddler at home. Problem solved – lets do it!
First Up, if you are a Cairns local, you need to get to our Kangatraining or Mums n Tots Classes.
These are 100% baby friendly, get you out of the house, boost your endorphins & connect with other amazing other families. But for you days off, or those who can’t get to a local class please check out my guides below.
My mini-workouts are designed to nurture both you and your baby and to be fun for both you and your child respectively. My workouts are inspired by ‘play’, so with all that giggling with your toddler you wont even know you are working out. If you can set aside 20-30 minutes a day most days to move with your child/ren, I’m sure you’ll start experiencing increased energy levels and improved fitness. Choose the workout below that will best suit you and your family.
Mini-Workout 1: Ideal for Mum and Baby
Before you start: Remember to keep your workout ‘pelvic-floor-safe’ by stepping gently and keeping your legs quite close together, and please support your baby’s neck and lower back through all movements.
5 Steps to Success with your Baby
- Put on YOUR favourite song. This time is for you as well as your baby. My children have come to love my choices in pop music.
- Babies love being held, so pick up your baby. For me, babywearing is the way to go and I recommend using an optimally positioned and supportive carrier such as a Manduca. Ensure all buckles are securely fastened and follow the TICKS guidelines
- Treat yourself to a gentle warm up for 10 minutes or more: Pop out for a short walk or stay at home for some gentle ‘dancing’! If you have older children in tow, push them in the pram, encourage them to ride their bike alongside you, or dance together.
- Love your legs for 10 minutes: With your favourite tunes pumping, give your legs some lovin’ with 20 squats, 10 lunges for each leg, 15 leg raises for each leg and 20 repeaters for each leg. Break to catch your breath between exercises. Take a sip of water then repeat for 3 sets total, or however much time you have available. Ooh your legs love you now!
- Yay! It’s already cool down time: Enjoy a gentle walk outside or another slow dance with your baby indoors followed by an amazing full body stretch for that ‘just worked out’ feeling.
Mini-workout 2: Ideal for mum and toddler
Before you start: You will need to have reasonable pelvic floor strength for this workout. Register for my FREE 21 Day Pelvic Floor Challenge to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. For now switch from running to walking and ditch the ‘bounding’ movements for something lower impact.
5 Steps to Success with your Toddler
- Let the games begin with a little child-friendly jig to warm up for 5 minutes: Try the ‘Chicken Dance’, ‘Hokey Pokey’ or ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’! What other big action songs do you know? Post your ideas below to share with other mums.
- Come up with a child-friendly theme for your movements today. Try ‘shapes’, ‘counting’, ‘big and small’, ‘animals’ etc. You will be teaching your toddler something interesting while you move. I use ‘’BIG & small’ in the video below, but try to adapt this plan to suit your own theme whenever you’re feeling innovative.
- Run and play for 15-20 minutes: Encourage your child to copy you to the end of the back yard as you lunge (‘BIG steps’), run on your toes (‘small steps’), jump (‘big like a frog’), jump on your toes (‘small like a bunny’), step with knee-lifts (‘little knees’) and power skip (‘big knees’). Do each exercise to one end of your space, then run back to the beginning and do the next. Break to catch your breath then repeat. Catch your breath again, then repeat again (3 sets total). Wow, who knew exercise could be such fun!
- Get in the mindset of ‘active play time’ with your toddler. Children LOVE repetition and imitation, and will happily climb all over you as you ‘play’ (workout). If you can, find a length of space, 10 meters or so, in your back yard or park for the best results.
- Ah, it’s time to cool down for 5 minutes: Gently walk around the park or yard, collect some sticks, talk about the insects you see, then enjoy a rejuvenating stretch together as you have a nice cold drink. Bliss.
If you are still stuck or would love more ideas on how to keep active and have fun with your family, WORK WITH ME by contacting email@example.com and we can find the best program for you.
And finally, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below. Do you think these mini-workouts are achievable? Are you looking forward to giving them a go? Let me know what’s working for you!
NOTE: These workouts are not suitable for everyone. Please see your GP prior to starting any new exercise program. It is important to maintain correct technique. All bounding or high impact exercises should be avoided when holding or wearing a child. New Mums need to wait a minimum of 6-12 weeks post-natal prior to starting a postnatal workout.
Philippa Bowman – October 2015
Nurtured Fitness Founder
Pre/Post Natal Exercise Expert & Family Fitness Coach
Trained Babywearing Consultant