Guest Blog Post – By Philippa Bowman.
I am a big advocate for moving together as a family. Nothing beats getting fresh air, burning off the kid’s energy & creating some great memories together. Exercising together as a family has some huge perks.
For starters, you can ditch the mindset of ‘workout’. Think adventurous & play based movements to get your heart racing. We are multitasking by having some quality time together, doing some things that everyone will enjoy, easily make age appropriate for the children and boosting your endorphins.
Ok, let’s get to the juicy stuff!
Set up an obstacle course either inside or outside, just using some basic things you have around the house. From inside, you can grab some pillows, chairs and even use the couch to climb. Outside, you might have an old plank of wood to balance on, buckets to race around or a play tunnel.
Set up your course and get fully involved completing the course with your child/ren. This is obviously better for kids who are on the move, but you can make it more challenging depending on their age.
With older children, you can time them how long it takes them to complete a lap and change it up as you go. To add a bit more intensity at the end of each lap, you might like to add in 10-20 repetitions of a particular exercise. Then the kids can count them out with you e.g. squats, lunges or similar.
You may (or may not) be surprised how quickly your heart rate jumps up when you move your entire body up and down and through small spaces.
Think of something yours kids are into right now. Do they like fairies, trucks, insects, animals? Whatever it is, you can create a simple ‘Copy Me’ game where you act out being their favourite thing with exercises.
Just choose 3-5 basic movements, such as walking, squats, jumps etc and use arm actions & noises to act out what you are being.
To add some more intensity, you can have a race (crawling, walking or running) back to the start before you start the next maneuver.
This is a good one for inside or outside, just make sure you have a nice clear area to play. Keep going until they lose interest!
Think of five big tourist nature attractions in your area that you haven’t been to yet, but you really would really love to see. Think bush walks, beaches, waterfalls, bike paths, botanical gardens etc.
Write a list and tick one off each weekend (or fortnight) to do with your family.
Make sure the tracks are reasonable for your child’s age, or take back-up (prams/bikes/carriers).
Nothing makes me feel better than dancing and singing badly.
So, this one is really simple…
Crank up your favourite tunes and have a spontaneous dance party in the lounge room. If you have teenagers, they will probably think you are totally nuts, but just laughing is all good too.
Young children don’t really need too many rules. Running, passing, kicking a ball in your back yard can be hours of fun.
If you have children participating in sport you can offer to practice with them at home or meet with another family for a mini game.
Just go for a walk & talk.
Don’t let rain put you off because puddles are awesome. Maybe you or someone in the family is feeling really frustrated by something? This is a such a simple form of stress relief too.
I am also big fan of ‘movement play dates’. So, if you are meeting a friend to let the kids have a play, make sure you get a play/movement/walk done too!
Will it all go smoothly?
Don’t get me wrong, we are working with children here, so anything goes and everything can change at any point. Here are a few guidelines to keep it family friendly for everyone.
- Don’t persevere with a bad idea. If the kid’s (or you) are hating it, then move on really quickly so it stays a positive experience.
- Let the kids help. Where do they want to go, what are they totally into now that you can incorporate into a theme?
- Take back up! I have young ones, so we often end up out & about with kid’s bikes, pram & baby carrier. Little legs can get tired quickly, so the giving them a rest when appropriate is awesome. Snacks & drinks are essential too.
- Stop and smell the roses. Sometimes we want to get in the zone and get things done at pace, but don’t miss an opportunity to spot animals, trees & your environment.
- Be hands on. Commit your body to getting involved. Wear something comfortable and don’t worry about getting dirty.
For a detailed guide on how to start exercising after having a baby, download the free guide ‘5 Things you can do everyday to start your fitness journey’.
I would love to hear how you enjoy being active with your family too!