8 Fun Ways to Workout with Kids

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Blizzard workout

As a Texas girl living in Maryland, I am not used to snow.  Sure, it’ll snow in Dallas, but for most of my life, snow would fall for half a day, a few inches at most, and then turn to ice if it would stick at all.  Most of the time we would be so excited that there was actually something white falling from the sky that I never realized that there is so much nuance to a snowy day.  My favorite is the lightly falling, big flaked, pretty snow that looks like something out of a movie and is pleasant to walk in.  The few times it snowed like that growing up are vivid memories.  After moving further north I have now had several experiences with the phenomenon know as: the blizzard.

This last blizzard I saw more snow in one weekend than I ever have before.  Lookup #snowzilla and #snowpocalypse if you weren’t in the area to see the kind of reactions the east coast had to that storm.  Since we didn’t lose power (though were prepared if we did) I was very excited for the storm.  The whole family was cuddled up at home, playing games and watching movies, and I kept making calls to my family back home to give them updates on HOW MUCH SNOW COULD FALL FROM THE SKY!  (Yes, I’m sure on the phone I was speaking in all caps.)

On Saturday morning there was a small break in the otherwise constant barrage of snow, so I decided to shovel our driveway before another foot or more of snow were to pile on top of the first.  So, I wrapped myself up in layers, took my shovel, and prepared for a couple hours of physical activity.  Luckily, weeks of strength training and 21 Day Fix workouts prepared me for this shoveling.  Though I was tired at the end, it felt like a good workout and not the terrible ache of someone whose muscles were screaming at their unpreparedness.  Here are a few moves to train you for the next snowstorm.

#1) Lunges & Squats

     Yep. Good old fashioned lunges were key to helping protect my lower back as I bent to put snow on my shovel.  I used a wide lunge or squat, making sure my knees were at right angles in my bent legs, to give me a firm foundation.  Having tucked in abs and strong legs by practicing forward lunges and side lunges helped me shift the balance of snow and move it more efficiently.

#2) Wood chopper

     In the 21 Day Fix program, there is a weight exercise called the “squat to wood chop” we practice with weights.  Starting with feet hip width apart, squat with the weight over the right foot, then push up, twisting the body until the weight is up in the air facing the left side.  This translated perfectly to the twist needed to fling the snow over my shoulder to make sure it got over the banks of snow already piled on either side.

#3) Ab and oblique exercises

     A tight core is important for lower back health in general.  A combo of crunches, bicycle twists, oblique stretches, and scissor twists (crunches with the legs alternating up and down) are good ab exercises to add to your routine.  The upside is that all those ab exercises preparing me for snow shoveling will pay off for bikini wearing in the summer.

  Happy exercising!