How to Exercise with Kids: Fit for Good

From the conversations in the Facebook group, I realize many of you are struggling to find time to exercise. I realize that kids can make exercise more challenging, but it can be done.

Get up early .

Meaning- get up before the kids. This is probably the hardest thing to do for mom’s of young children, but it is also one of the best ways to guarantee that exercise happens during the day. If you do it first thing, it is going to happen, and probably uninterrupted.

Exercise after they go to bed.

In my opinion this is not the best option because after all my kids are in bed I don’t feel like doing much of anything, especially working out. But sometimes this is the only way to squeeze exercise in your day.

Set realistic expectations for your workouts.

Last summer when my kids were off school and I had two very capable teenagers at home I was able to exercise for an hour and a half each day. I realized this was only a possibility during the summer so I took advantage of it. Perhaps during the week you are only able to fit in 20 minute workouts, but on the weekend you can get an hour because of schedules. Do what works best for your family.

Give your kids something special to do during your exercise time.

Perhaps the kids get 30 minutes of television or computer time while you exercise. If that is their only media time during the day they probably won’t move from the tv or computer and you’ll get 30 minutes of uninterrupted exercise.

Exercise with the kids.

If your kids are old enough, they can exercise right along with you. Most kids think this is fun and enjoy spending time with you. It also develops a culture  of fitness in the home which leads to healthier habits for your kids. I know families who workout together, run together, swim together, and bike together. If your child isn’t old enough to bike or run you can always push them in a stroller or tow them in a bike trailer. They’ll love it!

exercising with kids

Simply St. Augustine’s family working out together. 

Stop sitting and get moving.

When I go to the park I often see kids running around like maniacs and all the parents sitting or standing around. Who made the rule that parents aren’t allow to run around at the playground? A playground is a great place to get in small exercises like calf raises, squats, lunges, etc. Will people look at you funny as you exercise around the playground? Of course? But who cares?

You can be a fit family.

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This week my son went to the store and with his money bought a blow up punching bag. Now this isn’t that impressive, because what 10 year-old boy doesn’t want to punch things? What I thought was cool about it was that he went and set it up in the gym in our basement. Then he and his brother created a workout program for themselves and stuck it to the wall. Every minute of their free time is spent in the basement working out.

My son has been influenced by my husband and my desire to create a culture of fitness in our family and our other kids have as well. Last year my husband ran a 5k with our 16 year-old, and our daughter at college (influenced at least a little by her fit mama) added going to the gym into her daily routine. Instead of gaining the freshman 15 she actually got in shape at college!

exercise with kids

Like mother, like daughter…

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Obviously I wish we would have started making fitness a priority in our home years ago, but it is never too late to start. My husband starting running when he was 43 and I dropped 25 pounds and got into the best shape of my life at 39.

The best thing about getting in shape when your kids are little is that it probably means you are still young enough to get results quickly!

More Fit For Good

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Comments

  1. Love this! Thanks, Toni!
    When the kids see that exercising is important to me, they want to copy me. I love seeing Zack (age 3) pick up hand weights and exercise (“hoo” “ha” “hoo” “ha” – not that *I* make those noises! LOL)
    My oldest 2 kids (11, almost 10) have asked when they could do a 5K with me. So far I’ve said no – mostly because of the extra entry fees I’d need to pay – but I also worry about their little bodies and little hearts. I guess I’m being silly, right?

  2. My daughter is the same way, doing as I do. I’m a 28 mother of (almost) 4, 37 weeks pregnant and still teaching my spin class and taking Body Pump twice a week. My oldest daughter is in ‘training’ for the Pittsburgh Kid’s Marathon, where she has to run a mile at a time to 25.2, then do the final mile as a race. She loves it and actually embraces it, probably because I set a pretty good standard. My husband and I also completed a marathon together and the training had the kids involved, since we had to push them in jogging strollers and what-not.

    Exercise is so beneficial to kids and if you start them young, as you said, it’s so much easier to keep them that way. I mean, I look at my five year old’s body and think, “If only she can keep it that for her entire life, what an easier life it’ll be!”

    Great blog!

  3. You can give any special thing to your kids during the exercise time which your kids like. I agree with this. It’s a good way for the fitness of kids and they also enjoy this type of activity.

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