When we were kids, we spent most of our time running and playing outside, with our parents barely being able to catch us for a single spare moment to announce it was lunch time. Today, on the other hand, most little rascals have gotten used to spending their joyous childhood glued to a screen, and we as parents have a completely upside-down battle to win – how on Earth can we get them to be more active?
Luckily, if you’re a parent who loves working out, you can instill the same values and the same feeling of fun and enjoyment from a very early age, by sharing your exercise routine with your kids. No matter their age (or yours, for that matter!) you can easily include them in your workouts and turn them into a bonding session with a learning curve!
When your little bundle of joy has finally developed some sort of a natural sleeping rhythm, you can use their down time to do your ten-minute HIIT in the next room. But why not share your enthusiasm with the baby, since they truly find everything mesmerizing, and your repetitive movements will seem like playtime to them. Your perfect sidekick for the outdoors can be a sturdy jogging-friendly stroller, an excellent way to spend time in the fresh air in a nearby park and give your bub the time of their young life.
Carry your little bub in a sling while doing some soothing yoga, or riding a stationary bike, just make sure that the material is breathable, or you can put them in your lap when doing sit-ups, on their back (on the soft mat of course) when doing pushups, and lunges and squats can be another combo with the baby in the sling. Every rep you do, give them a smooch, and they’ll reward you with a giggle!
Turn it all into a game
Toddlers on the other hand already start forming their own opinions, and they will enjoy taking part in exercises that feel like friendly competition, or games, especially if there’s a treat waiting for them afterwards. At this time, they also start looking up to you, and they will most likely be eager to mimic your every move – a perfect opportunity to put on your matching tees and tights and do as many rhythmic squats and count every second of planks together!
If you add a bit of music, even better, they will be more likely to maintain their focus and stay interested for longer. A group aerobics video is another easy indoor option for those wintery afternoons when you’re snowed in, but you can also play volleyball, ride a bike (the basket for the toddler adds more resistance for you), take up swimming, because your options are endless.
Family fun at the gym
A year or two after your kids start school and show interest in group sports as well, you can slowly introduce them to the wondrous world of strength training. Don’t forget to pack your trusty weightlifting clothes in the gym bag, as that will be one of the many ways to teach your kids the importance of safety in training, and prep an extra water bottle for your little gym buddy – talk about motivation to impress your new partner!
They should, of course, start out slow, with smaller dumbbells, and stay in the rep-range of around 12-15, thus increasing their endurance, while mostly focusing on achieving the right form and learning the importance of strength for posture, preventing injuries and maintaining their health. This is a brilliant way to teach them discipline and continue building healthy habits, from making delicious healthy meals, to staying physically active as much as possible.
Time for adventure
This is an all-time favorite for many families, simply because it’s easy to organize and everyone can have their share of fun! Set aside your weekends for a family excursion into nature, whether it’s a camping trip, a picnic or just a bike ride in the woods, but you should all take part and use this time to steer clear of techy gadgets. Playing catch with your pooch, throwing a frisbee, playing volleyball, football, just running around or swimming can be incredibly fun and serve as their daily exercise.
A wonderful chance to bond, every adventure can be different, and your kids can take part in choosing your destinations, making the snacks, packing your things and prepping the car. Of course, if you all have time, and especially if you live in the vicinity of nature reserves, you can turn this into a weekly family tradition!