Kid tested, mother approved
As a mom myself, I understand first hand that it is really hard for a lot of women to find time to fit exercise into their daily routines. For a working woman I am sure it is even more difficult, as those precious hours not at work are likely sacred family time. So how do we reconcile our desire to be healthy and stay in shape with our desire to spend time with our families? COMBINE the two! Obviously this is not a novel idea that I have come up with, but with three young kids at home and the weather finally consistently amazing, I find myself spending more and more time outdoors with the kids and moving around a lot. And it hit me-- even if you don't have a spare hour to hit the gym, you can still get in a great workout while hanging out and spending quality time with your family. So here are a few ideas, pulled from my own experiences in the past few weeks, to get you moving with the whole gang.
1. Bike Riding: My kids pull out their bikes almost every day as soon as I open the car door to let them out when they get home from school. Cincinnati has a ton of kid friendly trails if you want to take this further than just around the block, and if you don't live in the Queen City I am sure there are plenty of trails in your neighborhoods as well. Over Labor Day weekend this past year our family rented a tandem bike and trailer and rode a few miles out in Loveland, and it was a blast. Granted, I felt it the next day, but that was maybe the best part- a "souvenir" of a fun filled outing with my family.
2. Jump Rope: It seems like a childhood staple, but it is actually an excellent cardiovascular workout, as well as a great workout for your arms and legs. Trust me, if you go for long enough, you will feel that burn! There is a reason this exercise is a staple in a boxers training. Back when I was going to The Ring in Boston we always started our workouts with 3 minutes of jump rope, and man did it kick my butt. Its always fun (well, at least for me) to see how many rotations you can get in before the rope trips you up.
3. Hula Hoop: Core training, anyone? It had been a while since I'd used a hula hoop but I picked one up the other day and holy cow thats a good core workout. You need a really strong center to be able to keep the hoop going, and it can also be used for arm and leg exercises as well. My kids went nuts for the hoop and it is a hoot watching them play with it.
4. Trampoline: I wish our trampoline was big enough to accommodate an adult, but sadly it has a 100 pound weight limit. The kids can jump seemingly for days, and they get mighty sweaty doing so, so I just know I would be burning some serious calories if I was able to join them. And one day we will have a trampoline big enough for that (well, maybe...hopefully).
5. Plain old Running Around: Ok, I am a total hypocrite here because I have already mentioned repeatedly that I hate running. But its a little different here- I don't mean running on a track or a treadmill. Literally just running around, playing tag or chasing your kids. Everyone will have a blast and get a great cardiovascular workout. We were running in circles the other day, yes- circles, and my little guys were just so happy that I was playing with them and not just sitting on the side watching. Worth it both from the caloric expenditure side and from the mom-kid bonding side. A win for everyone.
So next time you find yourself saying you don't have time to go to the gym, or you don't want to give up family time for gym time, remember that the two can really go hand in hand, and might actually be more fun and rewarding than being in a traditional gym setting. (But of course I'd still love to run you through a traditional strength training session... :) )