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Mamamia Recommends: 'I tried Optus Sport with my kids. Here's what happened.'

At the start of the pandemic, when we were all stuck at home, I suggested an online family workout. With the local parks closed, we had to get creative with our exercise - and walking around the block just wasn't cutting it.

My boys love their screen time as much as the next kid, but like a pair of overactive Kelpies, they also need a lot of running around. 

Pre-pandemic, my son Toby was playing a bunch of team sports, while my younger son Leo, who was only three in 2020, loved climbing and playing at the local park.

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Video via Mamamia.

When the pandemic took those options away, we had to make do with what we had at home. 

Since then, online family workouts have become a regular staple in our household.

I won't pretend it's always a total pleasure (it isn't), but we laugh (mostly at my terrible push-ups) and there's always a healthy dose of sibling rivalry. 

Here's what I've learned from the last two years of working out at home as a family.

1. It's a great mental and physical health boost.

In March 2020, my anxiety was skyrocketing and apart from the sanctioned daily run or walk, a family workout was great for my moods. Exercise releases endorphins and sometimes, lockdown aside, we all still need an endorphin boost with little kids at home.

Online workouts have continued to play a role in being a proactive way to burn off some of the kids' energy, while being good for my physical and mental health. 

Everyone's a winner!

2. Online workouts are super flexible.

Having younger kids at home means I can't always get out to do the things I want or need to do. 

With online family workouts, I can easily roll out a few exercise mats and choose an online workout for us to do.

While sometimes we opt for a strength type workout, other times we'll opt for a cardio or dance based one. 

Occasionally I insist on yoga and meditation too, but it inevitably ends in too much moaning from the kids so I save those workouts for when they go to bed.

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Until Monday April 9, Optus Sport has a bunch of family workouts available online for anyone to watch. See them here.


3. It's an easy way to get kids moving.

According to current Australian Government health advice, kids aged between five and 17 need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. My kids play tennis and also love a bike ride or a surf but these activities require scheduling, supervision, planning, and sometimes money. 

I am VERY unlikely to load up the bike rack on the back of the car on a Tuesday after school, but popping on an online family workout? Much more likely. 

It's a good way to make sure that on those midweek quiet days, we all have the chance to let off some steam before dinner without making too much mess. Nerf gun wars are another way, but collecting up all the bullets from down the back of the sofa is a chore I can do without.

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4. My kids are fitter than me and it hurts.

I'm not sure when it happened, but suddenly my boys can do way more squat jumps than me and hold a plank for longer. It shouldn't really matter but the fact five-year-old Leo sometimes tells me, 'You can sit this one out mum', gets my back up. I'm 43, not 83, thanks!

But overall, it inspires me to keep going and not let the little critters get the better of me, even if my arms are wobbling and I'm a red, sweaty mess. I won't lie though. 

Sometimes I take Leo's advice and have a rest. That way I can just lie there for a breather while watching them do burpees. 

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It's strangely satisfying. 

Laura taking a breather. Image: Supplied. 

5. Kids will fight, so they may as well do something active while they do.

The truth is, we don't always have fun while working out as a family. My boys are extremely competitive and there's usually a fight at some point where little Leo gets annoyed by Toby's superior lunge skills. 

The fact of the matter is that kids will fight, so they may as well do something active while they do.

6. We have a lot of fun.

If we pick the right workout, that's not too hard for Leo (or me) and not too easy for Toby, then we still always manage to feel like we have achieved something. It keeps the kids busy for 20 minutes and goes towards their healthy daily requirement of exercise! It's a win-win.

Exercising as a family at home might not have been first on my list before COVID, but it has been one of the few habits we have kept up that we all genuinely enjoy. 

Sometimes I suggest it on a Saturday morning while my husband Jules is out for a surf, or sometimes Toby even suggests it as an activity on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

We can have a giggle and spend time together doing something healthy and hey, it sure beats Monopoly or another walk around the block! 

For Mother's Day, Optus Sport has family workouts available online for anyone to watch. See them here.

More workouts, more choice. All in one place. Workout your way with Optus Sport. Head to Optus Sport to find out more

Feature Image: Supplied / Canva.