When you’re already madly dashing between work, school, kindy, grocery stores, social gatherings and kids’ parties, finding an hour here and there to go to the gym can seem impossible. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on exercise altogether. There are plenty of ways to integrate a little fitness into your day by sharing your workout with your kids.
Get your skate on
Whether it’s ice-skating in a rink or roller-skating or roller-blading around a park, skating is a high-energy workout — around 30 minutes can burn up to 300 calories. Get your kids involved for a family skate session, but do a 15-minute power skate at the beginning and the end to ensure you get a good workout.
A simple routine of bicep curls, tricep raises, squats and chest presses with a set of hand weights will only take you around 20-30 minutes, and it’s an easy and fun routine that your kids can enjoy, too. Suited best to school-aged children — your toddlers may struggle with this one — your little ones can use tiny weights, such as wooden blocks, empty drink bottles or dolls for their own “weight lifting”.
Unleash your inner yogi
Yoga can be enjoyed at any age, so no matter how old your kids are, getting them involved in your yoga workout could be a fun idea. They don’t need to be able to follow every move, but you can teach your child a few simple poses so they can stretch and bend alongside you. You may be able to attend “mummy and me” yoga classes in your area, otherwise just pop a DVD in and stage a 30-minute yoga session in your lounge room. It’s a fun twist on a playdate if you decide to invite a friend.
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Dance the night away
Or the morning… or the afternoon… whenever tickles your fancy. You could simply crank a handful of tunes in your lounge and dance around the room together, but if you want something more structured, a dance class (like Zumba) is ideal. Sian McDonagh from Passian Dance Fitness says she has children as young as 3 years old participating in her daily dance classes on the Gold Coast. They pick up the gist of the moves pretty quickly and enjoy dashing around the room with their parents, while their mums get an intense 45-minute dance workout. Everybody wins!
Enjoy long walks by pushing your bub in their pram
Once your children are a little older, long walks tend to last about 20-30 minutes — when their legs get tired and they decide they want to go home. When your kids are small enough to pop in a stroller, however, you can walk around your neighbourhood for up to an hour (or even longer, if you time the walk with their nap).
“Before my wedding, I combined dance classes with walking,” says Sian. “I lost 18 kilograms in five weeks — which was probably a bit too fast, but I had a deadline. Walking is such a great fat-burning exercise and is rather enjoyable in the right environment. It’s a great workout for mums with prams.”