Completing your home workouts can be challenging if your children are continually interrupting you - so why not include them? Depending on their age and ability, you can choose from a range of bodyweight movements to keep the session safe and enjoyable.
It doesn't mean you shouldn't try to exercise on your own so you can focus better, but including your kids will allow you to be a role model to them. They will more likely do what you do than what you tell them to do. So encouraging them early on to learn to enjoy exercise is an excellent effort to show them a path to health and fitness.
The benefits of exercise for children are similar to that of adults. It increases bone and joint health while helping them use up all those kids' energy. Aerobic exercises promote better cardiovascular fitness as well as help with sleepy time.
Strength activities have been shown to enhance muscular strength and stability in children and improve coordination and balance in adults. With all these benefits, where should you begin, you may ask?
Here's a selection of exercises organized roughly by body part. You can choose a few you think are suitable for all of you and organize them into a circuit. Say, pick 1 of the below categories, perform them after each other for 10 repetitions and go around for 3-4 rounds. Or set a timer and do as many rounds as you can within 15 minutes.
INCREASING Heart Rate
Mountain climbers - in a press-up position, bring your knees up towards your chest. Move fast and get sweaty!
Bear crawls - palms and feet on the floor, knees off the floor. Make it into a game by playing bear crawl 'tag', which requires a fair bit of coordination to go forward and backward! With little ones, add a roar!
Burpees - lie flat on the floor and get back up, adding a jump at the top. Kids can race through these, so try to keep up - if you can!
Sit-ups - get your little helper to hold your feet down and count your reps. Then swap and do the same for them - teamwork makes the dream work!
Dead bugs - lying flat on your back, raise all your limbs to the air at a 90-degree angle with the floor. Make sure your lower back is drawn into the ground, start moving the opposite leg and arm away from your core, and then bring them back in. Repeat on the other side.
Planks - on your elbows and tiptoes, go nose to nose with your children and see who can last the longest. If you can find another small child to sit on your back - consider it an extra challenge!
Press-ups - for a beginner, you can do these from your knees. If you're more advanced, move on to your toes. Make sure your hands are in line with your chest and not to flare your elbows out.
Handstands - these are more advanced, but you can kick up against a wall for support. Great exercise for balance as well as shoulder strength.
Cartwheels - you'll need a bit more space for them, but they'll help you to reconnect with your inner child!
Squats - children are masters of the squat! Keep your heels down, drop your hips below your knees, and make it a competition. Who can sit the longest or do the most in a minute? If these are too easy - add a jump at the top!
Lunges - take a big giant step forward and bend your front knee 90°, let your back knee touch the ground - keep your chest up. To make it harder, carry your child in your arms as you lunge around the room. If they want to join in, rename these "giant's footsteps" and have them follow you.
Star Jumps - Kids love these! Stand tall and jump into the air, shooting your legs and arms out, so you look like a big X in the air. They get the heart rate up!
It would be fine to do a workout like this every day if you wanted to. The goal is to keep things light and fun. For young children, especially, it should feel like playing.
Depending on your options, you can decide how often you want to exercise with or without your kids, but aiming 3 times a week is a healthy start. Focusing on enjoying movement as part of a healthy lifestyle is a great lesson for kids and grown-ups!
Do you need help to make your home workouts more interesting? Feel free to get in touch and see how we can help!
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