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Encouraging your children to exercise not only sets a good example for the future but also helps you to get your workout in whilst bonding with your kids (multi-tasking!). Family workout promotes a healthy lifestyle and is a great first step for getting your kids involved in exercise and YES, you can still get a decent workout in, even if the kids are around.
Two of the main points to remember are
- Keep them involved – The older kids can use the stopwatch or clock to tell you how long you’ve got left and keep asking them questions about what muscles they think they are using. As long as you include them in what you are doing they love to try new things!
- Make it fun – Pop on some music and don’t take it too seriously, especially at first.
During a family workout, keep communicating with your kids as you do each pose or exercise and talk about why you’re doing it, the benefits and how this will affect your body. It may take a few sessions for you and your kids to find a good routine, so mix it up and feel free to try something new, here are a few ideas
Family Workout Exercise Variations
Either mountain climb and make faces at the babies or show the toddler’s how it’s done. Show them how to do really fast and slow legs to variate and get a good workout in.
Depending on the age of your child you can either hold them in front of you and squat, using their body weight in a similar way to a kettlebell (minus the swinging- obviously), put them in a front sling to keep them more secure or teach the toddlers how to do their own baby squats.
Use the babies as a weight and make silly faces to amuse them whilst lifting your bottom. For the toddlers or more active ones, you can show them how to make their own bridges or do a bridge hold whilst they crawl underneath you. Holding also gives you a great workout – try to squeeze your glutes in too for an extra kick when you are at the top of the bridge.
Upside down Doggies (or downward dog for the adults)
This is great fun and you’ll find that kids are a lot more flexible than you at this! You can alternate transitioning to and from downward dog and cobra pose making the appropriate “Woof” and “SSS” depending on the pose. Kids love being upside down so you’ll struggle to get them back the right way up!
These are some of my favourites because it’s a great move for strengthening your lower back (and after you’ve had children it’s a particular problem area for many) and the kiddies enjoy playing superheroes! You can try repetitions or holding and squeezing at the tops of the pose. It also works great for glute strengthening.
High 5 sit ups
I love these because you can also try and beat each other to the top!
Other alternatives include: Getting your child to hold your feet down and making silly faces when you come up to the top. For the little babies you can hold them to your chest and give them a cuddle while you sit up (extra weight and cuddle time! BONUS) Make sure to watch your form though so you don’t strain your back
I used to love blowing raspberries on the way down and try to hold the press-up position above my son (be careful you have good arm grip though!). For toddlers you can try teaching them the push-up position although they are usually better doing the downward dog or plank instead
Fitness Games To Play With The Kids
Games are a great way to warm up with your kids during family workout, they are lots of fun and they raise your heart rate! You can make mini-competitions out of most games as well to try and get older children more interested if they seem bored! Some warm-up games you can try for the toddlers/bigger ones are:
- “IT” (tag)
- Skipping or Jump rope
- Hula Hooping
- Jumping Jacks
Or you can try the old-fashioned jog on the spot!
Family Workout Routine
The sort of layout you might like to try is:
- First Play a game to get warm (and have fun), you can try one of the games above or something of your own making (I would love to hear about new fun games in the comment section)
- Next, Teach them the importance of stretching, you can adapt some examples from the “Simple Stretching Routine” I posed earlier in the week or you could try something simple like touching toes or standing stretches.
- Get your workout on! Try to incorporate your kids in any way you can (You can create a mini workout using the moves and variations I suggested earlier).
- Cool down – This is also important for you to make sure you don’t leave yourself prone to injury!
- Lastly (and most importantly) – SNACKS! + Playtime – spend some time doing whatever your child wants to do after a workout and form a positive link between working out and having fun! You can try this healthy banana and honey flapjacks for snacks!
Top Tip: To avoid naughty snacking after a family workout (for you and the kids) cut up some fruit or make up some healthy snacks to leave in the fridge ready for when you are done so that you don’t ruin all your hard work