I often get asked how I make time to exercise when I have a family to look after. Whilst I attend the gym two to three times a week, I work out more than that. Rather than trying to make child-free time, I simply involve her in my workouts. That way I get to spend quality time with the little one whilst also getting the workout I require and here’s how;
Include them in all aspects of the workout
She may only be 2, but my daughter likes to feel like one of the grown ups. So when working out, that’s exactly what I do! She gets a mat like mummy’s, a drink like mummy’s and occasionally even gets a say in what type of workout we do. Check out our workout set up below;
I also like to follow this on after our workout too. Post workout I refuel on a homemade protein bar. I’ve adapted my protein bar recipe to a child-friendly version, so that following a workout she can have a bar too!
The next step is to plan a workout with simple yet effective exercises. Each exercise needs to be easy for your child to mimic but give you the workout you’re looking for. An important thing to remember is that children under the age of 16 shouldn’t take part in weight bearing exercise (don’t be fooled - this includes body weight exercises as well) as it can damage growth. That said, don’t let this limit your workout; think of variations of your exercises which will be less strenuous for your child. For example, whilst I’m squatting, I encourage Isla to ‘bend and stretch’ - a move she is already familiar with from ballet.
Engage with a playlist
It’s no big secret that I’ve completed many a workout to the soundtrack of Frozen! To keep your child engaged, create a playlist which contains a mix of you favourite workout tracks for motivation and their favourite songs to keep them engaged.
Distraction is no big deal
Don’t put too much pressure on your child to stay focused and don’t expect them to partake in every aspect of the workout. Children have a short attention span and afterall, it’s your workout so if they get distracted, let them! They’ll join in again when their favourite song starts playing or you begin doing one of their favourite exercises.
So there you have it, some tips on working out when you have little ones to look after. It’s important to remember that the suggestions of involving your children in your workout is so that YOU can still get a workout, and at no point am I suggesting that it should be a workout for the child. It should be seen as a chance for them to engage in a fun activity by your side.
Do you have some other ideas for working out with kids? Let me know in the comments.