Maybe you work 50 hours a week and want to spend as much of your free time with your children as possible. Or maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom to young kids who take up every last second of your day. Either way, it can be hard to balance family life with a fitness routine. While it’s important to carve out solo time for your long runs or favorite cycling class at the gym, there are plenty of ways to combine fitness and family.
Along For The Ride
Strap your little one into a stroller and cruise through a class from FIT4MOM. Their popular Stroller Strides program features bootcamp-style classes that keep the kids occupied and mom’s heart rate up. The hour-long workout is a combination of power walking and running, strength training and dynamic exercises, all while interspersing nursery rhymes and fun songs to entertain your stroller sidekick (and all that Old McDonald-ing makes the aerobic element that much harder!). Or try a Stroller Barre class, which has a similar format while focusing on the muscles postpartum moms use most.
Have baby, will carry! There are countless baby and toddler carriers on the market now. Whether you prefer to carry your child on your front, back or even your side, there are plenty of options to keep them close and keep you hands-free. Try bringing junior along for a hike in the woods, a long walk with the dog or just bust out a few sets of squats and lunges. Baby will get a kick out of the different sights and movements, and you’ll get a killer workout from the extra resistance.
It doesn’t get easier than heading out your front door. Consider investing in a jogging stroller to take your tot along on your longer runs and reap the benefits of pushing the extra weight. Older kids can simply tag along on an easier run around the neighborhood; consider signing up for a family 5K and teach them the basics of training. Or if your sweet pea isn’t up for exercise that day and would rather watch from the sidelines, head to the track and let him or her follow your progress with a stop watch.
If you’re looking to expose your child to a new experience, there are plenty of classes for parents and kids that go beyond mommy and me. Check your local yoga studio to see if they offer sessions for little ones; many offer classes that combine poses to strengthen mom and relax baby. Or try an introductory swim class that gets you both in the pool, which will let your kids acclimate to the water and sneak in a full-body workout for you while you demonstrate moves and support their body weight. And don’t discount the benefits of joining the kiddos in your own backyard. Run sprints during soccer or a game of tag, or sneak in some crunches during hide and go seek.
So next time you’re torn between spending a Saturday morning with your miles or your munchkins, remember that you can easily do both. Everyone will have a fun and effective workout and the little ones will learn to make exercise an enjoyable part of their lives.
Alison Barsalona is a stay at home mom to one baby and one beagle. She is working on getting her running and fitness groove back and perfecting the art of the jogging stroller.