Child-ercise: 10 Ways Moms Can Exercise
By Dianna Griffis
Moms are always complaining of the lack of time for fitness. We must be willing to try new things. We need to change our limited definitions of exercise. It doesn’t have to be a 5-mile run or an hour in the gym. There are many ways to not only slim down and feel more alive, but also show our children that health is a priority.
Hit the Track
Most towns have either a community track or a public school with a track. Find one that’s enclosed by a fence and let the kids run wild in the center of the track. They can play ball, frisbee, tag, etc. on their own and you’ll have full view of them as you walk or run. If you have a child too young for that, a stroller will do. Toddlers can ride on a tricycle while you jog circles around them. Just keep moving!
Funny Field Ball
Go to a field. A yard or a park will be great. Bring a soccer ball or kickball and just start kicking. Let the kids chase you as you dribble. Kick the ball across the field and then race then to get it (giving you jogging time). While dribbling the ball with your feet, run around them. Do funny moves. They’ll laugh and love it.
The great thing about this one is beginners will get more exercise out of this than pros! A tennis court would be ideal, but any fenced, safe area will be okay. You can purchase a child’s tennis racquet, or just use a cheaper racquetball one. (We bought a used one at the secondhand sporting goods shop for $3). Have them practice trying to hit or throw the ball and you run out to get it. Being careful, practice serving a few while your child busies herself with the net.
Use your child as a ball. We do this will all three of our kids. Basically, you grab your child, hold him in a comfortable way, and run around. It’s great when my husband is there too, because then we play baby football. You run with your childball to your partner, who then runs with the childball to the pretend end zone. My kids weigh 50 lbs., 40 lbs., and 25 lbs. It’s a great workout for arms and legs and the kids beg for more!
Good old yoga. The steady movements, unique music, and animal postures attract kids of all ages. Yoga is safe for kids and it’s also an opportune time for spiritual connection and emphasis.
Some may think it’s a joke, but using your child as resistance for simple weight training actually works. Put on some good work out music (like Rosenshontz or Blues Travelers) and get busy. Tell your child you really need her help to do “grown-up stuff” and she’ll be ready to go. Hold her by the chest and inner thigh, tell her to hang on, and bench-press her. Sit on a chair, have her sit on your lower legs, and do leg lifts. She can sit on your back for push-ups. Get creative and emphasize how big and strong she is getting.
Aerobic Video Tapes
I’m a big fan of aerobic tapes and it wasn’t difficult to get the kids involved. I actually tried to get them occupied with toys and games so I could to a tape, but they kept following along and doing “exdersides” with me. Let your child phase in and out. He will play a bit, exercise a bit, and will love to refill your water bottle over and over and over again.
So simple. So why aren’t you doing it? Get floating gear on your child and hold her on your hip as you normally would. Now swim! Swimming one-handed will be a challenge and awesome workout. Swim to one side of the pool. Then put your child on your other hip and swim with the other arm. This will get them comfortable with the water, too.
Parents can get into it, too! First, have the kids help you build a course. If indoors, use couch cushions, buckets, stuffed animals, yarn, foam balls, Tupperware, etc. If outdoors, use rope, tires, wagons, dirt, hoses, sticks, etc. Then you become part of the obstacle course. For example: Draw a long rectangle in the dirt and carry your child on your shoulders across. Or, race your kids, but you do all activities backward or with tied hands. We have a blast with this.
Wild Woman Dance
Get a collection of fast songs of all genres. Make a tape or CD of them. On our dance CD, some of the artists we included were: Gary Allan, Beethoven, Bare Naked Ladies, Elvis, J.Giles Band, Queensryche, and Raffi. When dancing and sweating, by the way, kids don’t care what the lyrics are; they are in a zone. Dance. Jump. Run in place. Leap. Warning: You may want to shut your curtains first, unless you don’t mind your neighbors believing you’re a maniac.
There are no more excuses. Get busy, Mama!