Whether you have little kids yourself, in your family, or you occasionally babysit them, you have the perfect opportunity to add some extra fitness to your routine. Kids are like new phones; their batteries are extra long lasting, they have so many features that it takes you forever to learn them all and when you do they upgrade to the newest model and you have to start all over again. Luckily, in my experience most children in the toddler/preschool/early elementary range like two things: 1) playing make believe and 2) silly adults. With these two things you can get your exercise in and entertain children (particularly necessary on a rainy winter day like today) in the process. My kids like when I show them my yoga moves, and there are definitely some that can be done together, but these animal inspired fitness moves are a little more cardio and much more silly.
Make your best chicken face, flap your elbows, and hop from foot to foot, making sure your knees stay high and your abdominals are tucked in.
After practicing your roar and sharpening your claws, stalk your prey and jump into a squat, like you are sitting in a chair, with your knees tracking behind your toes.
Stand with your feet wide and turned out, chest up and abdominals pulled in, knees behind toes and squat down to put your fingers on the ground. Hop around returning to this position.
This variation on a sumo squat is a great workout for your quadriceps. Stand in the same position as the frog hop, but keep your back straight and walk around like this, possibly chasing the kids you threaten to tickle with your crab claws.
This balance move possibly comes after you’ve been flying around the room after the kids, like when they won’t put their clothes on. Perch for as long as you can on one leg and then switch, provided the kids don’t come by and knock you over.
When you’re too tired of cardio and too inflexible for bow pose, a nice fish curl helps to stretch your back out. You can add some arm workout by crawling away on your stomach as they run over to climb on your back.
Sleeping snake is a nice stretch to make the kids think you’re not paying attention until they get near and then you can strike, catching them with the element of surprise. They’ll never see it coming.
This is the pose that best describes the end of a long day of “animal” wrangling. Usually I’ve been tackled by my two enough that this is exactly how I feel.
Whether you fully channel your inner animal or just use these moves to invite your children to play, you can always engage in the play of children to get some extra workouts in. In the big scheme of things, it’s the play they’ll remember.