Finding time to workout with small children around can be a nightmare. When an old friend of mine got in touch asking for tips to get fitter, a familiar tale transpired: finding time to go to the gym or to the pool is near impossible. Whilst she could in theory try for 10 minutes of yoga at home, the boys made this difficult – anyone with experience of kids could picture the scene: ‘What are you doing Mummy?’ ‘Get off the floor!’ ‘I NEED you now!’
Obvious solutions came to mind such as getting out walking but as I’ve already mentioned, walking with toddlers who are past the pram stage can be difficult. Again, in theory you could get the toddlers to use a scooter or balance bike if they’re at that stage to try and increase the speed, but as I know from my own daughter that is easier said than done. Katie can go at a fantastic speed on her micro scooter but can also, with no prior indication, just choose to stop and announce she wants to walk instead etc. Hardly ideal for an aerobic work out is it?
I decided to raise the problem with Susan (from Streamline Personal Training) who I knew had experience of running fitness sessions where Mums had brought toddlers along. She reminded me of something key: toddlers love to copy. Our solution has been to develop a 15 minute workout that two lively toddlers can also do:
- To being put on some upbeat music that your children enjoy. This doesn’t need to be nursery rhymes, anything upbeat and catchy would do that you just want to move to. Think of some old ‘cheesy classics’ that everyone gets moving to. I road tested this with another Mum who declared to the kids – disco time!
- Start with squats. Keep your toes facing forward and ensure your knees are inline with your toes. Keep your shoulders back and head up, looking straight forward before bending your legs as if you were about to sit down on a sofa – get that bum right down before standing back up. Keep your stomach pulled in which ensures you’ve got your core muscles engaged.
- Next reach down and touch your toes and then reach up high to the sky! Bend you legs to do this, keeping your chest and head up – don’t look down at your toes!
- Twist jumps. Keep your feet together – jump your feet to one side, back to centre, and then to the other side. Keep that core engaged!
- Press ups from the knees. Get into crawling position with your knees inline with your hips. With your hands just a bit wider than your shoulders lower your chest towards the floor. Try your best to keep your stomach in nice and tight.
- Lunges! Start with your feet together and then step one foot forward flat on the floor. Bend the back knee towards the floor stopping before the knee touches the ground. Alternate the foot you step forward. Most importantly, keep your shoulders back and head up, and of course, engage your core!
Try to repeat each of these exercises 10 times and then repeat the whole lot!
The kids could copy you or throw out their own dance moves. They can run around the music and laugh at Mummy being mad – what they do doesn’t matter as long as they are safe and having fun but this should get your heart rate up and get your core muscles working a bit more. Finally, if anything hurts – don’t do it, and don’t forget to breathe!
What would your solution be? Any tricks for getting fit with toddlers in tow?