Friday, July 20, 2012

Exercising with Kids: Make it possible!

I know what you're thinking.  Trying to get a workout in when kids are in the picture can be quite a hurdle to jump over.  Throw one baby into the mix and it is nearly impossible to entertain them while exercising.  I've never had a baby who enjoyed watching me exercise.  I don't blame them.  Having to sit and watch myself huff and puff like the big, bad wolf would make me want to cry too.  Throw any more kids into the mix and they fight with each other, or pull on you, or will do anything to get you to stop doing all those weird super-hero moves and pay attention to them.   So with nearly 5 years of motherhood and three kids under my belt, I have come up with several solutions to this challenge.  Not to say that it still isn't a challenge for me.  It still is the biggest challenge I face in regards to fitness.  That's right.  Even more challenging than pikes on the exercise ball or plank jacks.  So, if you are finding that kids and exercise don't mix, here is the scoop:

-Tag team it.  Have your spouse/friend/co-worker/neighbor/mother/sister/brother who has the same fitness goal as you, whether they have kids or not, join in your efforts to get fit.  Have them watch your kid(s) while you workout, and then switch.  If the person has kids, its an even sweet deal because they get a kid-free workout out of it too.  Make sure, of course, that you exercise in another room---where the kids aren't!
-Exercise while the kid(s) nap, before they get up, or after they go to bed at night.  This is one I try to do, and sometimes get to.  But, I think Owen has a sixth-sense that can tell when I am up in the morning, even if I am on the other end of the house.
-If the kids are old enough, have them exercise with you.  They may loose interest in some parts, but my kids always find jumping jacks fun and will wait quietly in anticipation for that part of my workout. This encourages them to be proactive in their fitness at a young age!
-Use your kids as a exercise tools.  A push-up is a lot more challenging with a 40-lb preschooler on your back.  Below are some examples of exercises you can do with your kids.  BE CAREFUL, though, you don't want to hurt yourself or your kid in the process.  I wouldn't do much more than a push up or a plank with Jackson on my back because of his size.  It is easier to work with a 20-pounder or under.  If your child doesn't hold up his/her head yet, don't do this!  
-Put the kid(s) in a stroller and RUN!  They will enjoy the fresh air and the fast pace.  You'll get a good workout.  While they are still strapped in the stroller, you can finish up with 25 squats, 25 jump lunges, and 25 push-ups.  
-Put on a movie.  I know it's not the ideal thing to do with your kids.  It is only 30 minutes, though.  Getting your workout it will make your day and their day better, so it's worth it!
-Get a gym membership and GO!  Take advantage of the childcare, if you have the $$$!
-JUST DO IT.  Sorry Nike.  I stole that.  But seriously, folks, no matter how long it takes you and how frustrating it can be to exercise with kids interrupting, just get through it.  Sometimes it takes me 1 hour and 15 minutes for me to do a 35 minute workout.  Yes.  I get frustrated.  But, I NEVER regret continuing on and finishing the workout I started.

Just remember, your child's fitness starts with YOU.  If they see you exercise and eat right, they will mimic it.  They will want to be fit and healthy.  You are their example.  What a better way to teach them how they can give God the glory with the body He gave us?  With that said, have you worked out today?

 Push up with a child.  Do 10-20 of these depending on the weight of the child.  I honestly couldn't do many of these with this big boy on my back!  But, boy do I feel it!  
Push up with baby.  Place baby laying flat on floor.  Do a pushup over them, make a it goal to go down far enough to give them a kiss on the cheek each time you go down.  

Chest press with baby.  Lay on ground with legs bent and feet flat on ground.  Hold baby close to chest.  Push up all the way and bring child back down.  Make funny faces while doing it and your baby will be sure to be entertained!

Swing through with baby.  Hold OLDER baby under their arms.  Extend arms. Bend legs into a slight squat, making sure your knees don't go over your toes.  "Swing" baby slowly through legs and return to start position.  Do this for 12 reps.  Pause and repeat if baby is enjoying it.  Owen likes to hang his head back so he gets the "up-side down effect." You can also place one hand under your baby's bum and one under his neck and shoulders to support him if the baby is younger or your more comfortable with that position  (Pictured below).