Childrearing

Resolution Kickoff: How To Incorporate Your Kids Into Your Workout

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Celebrity moms everywhere love to explain that they keep an awe-inspiring, lingerie-modeling figure simply by playing with their kids. In every rehearsed, predictable interview of a young, fit mom, someone asks, “How do you find the time to exercise?” And invariably, 85% of respondents (a figure I completely made up) say, “I have young kids. I’m always chasing them around.” Over and over again, it’s the perfect answer. Playing with the kids obviously leads to six-pack abs. Even mothers of infants use this cliched answer. Because playing with an intensely adorable ten pound lump that’s working really hard at rolling over sounds like an aerobic activity, doesn’t it?

Let’s be realistic, I don’t care how many celeb moms claim that playtime results in their perfect physique, it’s going to take more than a couple trips to the park to really lose weight. And since January is everyone’s favorite month to start a new weight loss regime, I thought we would look at some real ways to incorporate your kids into a fitness plan. Just because “playing with your kids” is a bogus interview answer, it doesn’t mean that moms can’t let kids join in on the exercise. In fact, getting active with your children can encourage you to stick to your work-out plan and can make the entire experience more enjoyable. Then, when everyone asks how you shed those pounds, you can smile and say, “Oh I was just playing with my kids.”

  • Go the distance. Whether you decide to bike, hike or kayak, kids love to get involved in these distance workouts. A child’s endurance is pretty astonishing for their size and you can always keep a beginner’s pace. None of these activities have to feel like an exercise regimen, yet they’ll give you a total body workout that you can feel. And your kids will love spending time outside. All around a win-win work-out.
  • Get in class. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates or swimming, plenty of Mommy & Me classes provide a workout for you and your little ones. Instructors tailor these classes to fit both adults and little ones, so you’ll have a professional making sure that neither parents nor kids are overdoing it.
  • Go Old School. Pull out that jump rope and dust off that hula-hoop. Your old recess games were quite the workout. And I bet your kids never knew that you were the box ball champion of Glenwood Elementary School. Teaching them your old childhood favorites will be a fun activity for everyone. But don’t forget to give your kids a chance to update your skills with a few of their games.
  • Plan a couple playdates. Instead of gossiping during those weekly playdates, plan some exercise time with a couple moms you know. This time of year, plenty of people are looking to get back in shape. Chances are, you’ll be able to find some ladies who would love to have a weekly workout session in their basement while the kids entertain each other. Your child gets friends to play with and you get a scheduled date to keep you accountable.
It’s the time of year when plenty of us plan to hit the gym and get serious about our fitness. But turning that drive into a family affair can keep you dedicated longer and can help your entire family get on a healthier path. Your children will love spending more active time with their parents and you might stop dreading those weekend work-outs. “Playing with the kids” really can help your fitness, but I still maintain the right to roll my eyes at any supermodel who claims that it’s how she lost all her baby-weight.

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