Do you feel that having kids has put a stop to your running, fitness workouts or other sports activities? Many parents find that with babies and toddlers around the house, their precious me-time to do some physical exercise seems to vanish. It can be hard to juggle work, family, pets, and shopping and still have time for some physical activity, especially when your kids are at the demanding toddler stage.
Research shows that parents who are physically active increase the likelihood that their kids will be active as well. But having toddlers often means that you can’t go to the gym, or schedule those long runs in the mornings. So, if you’re looking for ways to keep active and at the same time get your kids involved, check out these tips.
1. Boogie on down!
If you can’t fit in an exercise class, how about doing some dancing with the kids? Find a music channel (kids love 80s disco!) or fill the iPod with dance tunes and turn the sitting room into an impromptu dance party! Kids will love to join in and you can add to the fun by turning down the lights and let them use a torch or get a strobe light that can be connected to the music. You will be amazed at how many muscles you use and calories you burn with this form of exercise, while having a lot of fun at the same time. If it wears out the little ones it’s a bonus, and you can use the extra time while they have a nap by doing some stretching or other exercises.
2. Team up for gardening or chores
Make activities around the house into fun events by teaming up with the kids and letting them help. Simple activities like gathering leaves can be turned into fun competitions to see who can collect the most red, brown or yellow leaves. Kids love digging, so let them help when you are going to plant bulbs too. If the weather keeps you indoors, turn household chores into a race and give a prize to the person who beats last week’s time! If you join in with the kids, they will enjoy the time spent together and you’ll get the housework done, too.
3. Walk the dog
If you have a dog, walking it as a family will get you all out and about and walking is a great form of exercise. If you don’t have a dog, see if you can help an elderly neighbour or relative by taking their pooch for a walk a few times every week, or just take the kids for a walk and add in some fun games to keep them interested. How many cats in windows can they spot? They may not be keen if you suggest an aimless stroll, but walking to the park or the local playground is far more tempting.
4. Trade time
If you really miss your gym sessions or runs around the block, work out a way to team up with a friend or a mum in your area and take turns to look after each other’s toddlers for an hour once a week, while the other spends that time going to the gym, shopping or whatever else they fancy. Make it a regular thing so it becomes a fixture in your week and you will magically free up some time to get the exercise you need.
5. Get on your bike!
Cycling is a great way to keep fit and can be done just about anywhere. Go for an evening ride after dinner, or plan longer treks for one of the weekend days. Babies and toddlers who are too young to ride a bike yet can be safely transported in seats on your bike, or for longer trips pull them along in comfort in a Bicycle Trailer. The Pacific Bicycle Trailer from Anaconda can carry one or two kids in style and folds flat for transport and storage, so it’s great for family holidays too. The cover keeps them protected if the weather turns bad and the quick release attachment means you can take turns to pull it along.