fitness

19 ways you can incorporate your kids into your exercise routine.

Image: Natalie Carter Talks Fitness.

Fitting in your exercise around kids, work and everyday life can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. If you have the luxury of being able to have a kid-free workout, awesome — but if childcare is largely up to you, you’ll have to find creative ways to stay fit and healthy.

What’s that old saying? ‘If Mama ain’t happy, then nobody is happy.’ I’m a firm believer in this when it comes to our body image, health and fitness level. So let’s get cracking — here are 19 ways to incorporate your kids into your workout.

1. Playground workouts

You’re probably aware of how much energy kids have, so why not join in with their park fun? Jump on the swing set, have a see-saw ride or take a few turns on the slide. All these movements are really functional, not to mention fun, and will help you burn extra calories.

2. Pram lunges

Next time you place your baby in their pram, get a leg workout in.

Stroller lunges aka. genius. (Image via Natalie Carter Talks Fitness.)

Tone and strengthen your legs by holding onto the pram bars, and perform walking lunges. The added resistance of the pram helps with strength and balance. To perform a lunge, make sure you keep your legs parallel and bend both knees to 90 degrees.

3. Russian twists with baby

A strong back requires strong abs. For this move, hold your baby close and under the armpits while you're seated with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Leaning back slightly, slowly and in a controlled move, twist your torso to one side and then the other. This Russian twist move is effective for shaping your waist and will keep bub occupied, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Perform 20 twists in total and repeat three to four times.

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Working out and keeping baby entertained - check. (Image via Natalie Carter Talks Fitness.)

4. Monkey bar ab workout

Next time you're at the park, grab hold of the monkey bars. Make sure your feet aren’t touching the ground, then bring both your knees up to your chest and repeat for 10 reps. This is a fantastic exercise for flattening and strengthening your lower abdominal muscles. Repeat for three to four sets with a rest in between each set.

An unlikely workout venue. (Image via Natalie Carter Talks Fitness.)
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5. Paddle boarding

This is such a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy — and your upper body and torso will get a total workout. Kayaking is another safe water sport for the whole family.

6. Modified 'Beach Flags'.

Next time you hit the beach, try a game of 'Beach Flags' — a popular Nippers drill.

Mark out roughly 30 metres, using a line in the sand at the start and leave a marker, such as an empty water bottle, at the end. You’ll need four water bottles for five players —  it’s similar to Musical Chairs, always taking a bottle away until a winner remains. Have everyone line up facing away from the start line, lying flat on their stomachs with their heads resting in the their hands. Blow a whistle or just use a countdown, and everyone must explode up onto their feet and sprint to grab a water bottle. This games helps build speed, agility and is a fun way to exercise. (Post continues after gallery.)

7. Shoulder press with a baby.

Want to tone your arms? Easy — grab your baby or toddler. Hold them securely under the arms while standing or seated, and lift them in front of you to above head level. This pressing motion is great for shaping your shoulders.

Get those muscles working. (Image via Natalie Carter Talks Fitness.)
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8. Skipping

Skipping workouts burn a truckload of calories and the kids will love it, too. Ten minutes will burn approximately 120 calories, which is two or three squares of dark chocolate.

9. Toddler-weighted push ups

Toddlers can make it difficult to exercise at home- they never seem to stop moving. So, incorporate them into your workout. Start with a push up on the knees with them straddled on your lower back and butt. Resting on your knees, have your hands spaced wide and bend till 90 degrees at the elbow. When you get stronger try them on your toes with your child on straddled across you. Try to perform 20 in a row for 2-3 sets.

Guarenteed to keep the toddler entertained and the arms strong. (Image via Natalie Carter Talks Fitness.)

10. Hip thrusts.

A common theme I see when working with women is poor glute and hip stability. This often leads to the appearance of a “flat butt’, lower back pain and/or hip instability. A quick fix for this is to perform hip thrusts — simply lie on your back with your knees bent, squeeze your butt (i.e. glutes) and raise your hips to the ceiling. Hold for three seconds and slowly lower down.

When you can perform three sets of 20 reps, your toddler or child can straddle across your hips for added resistance. This improves the shape of your butt and the stability of your hips.

Improve glute and hip stability with a hip thrust.(Image via Natalie Carter Talks Fitness.)
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11. Piggy back squats

Many people think you need fancy expensive equipment (hello, late night infomercials) to have an effective workout, but you really don’t. Your children can be the perfect training partner.

If I’m ever doing sessions with clients who have their kids around, I like to integrate a few moves with the kiddies — piggy back squats are one of my favourites.

The lower you can go, the better. (Image via Natalie Carter Talks Fitness.)

Pop your child on either your front or back, and perform squats by bending at the knees and lowering your butt to the ground. The lower you can go, the better. Try to work up to 10-12 repetitions of three.

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12. Family bush walk

Kill two birds by packing a picnic and taking a walk — it’s just nice to get outdoors. There are interesting spots all over the place; Google national parks in your local area or simply venture out to your local park. One hour of brisk walking burns more 500 calories.

13. Hopscotch

Hopscotch benefits your balance and hand eye co-ordination. Have the kids draw up a hopscotch board with chalk and get hopping. (Post continues after gallery.)

14. Bike ride

Kids learn about an active lifestyle from those around them, so get on your bike and start their healthy body image off on the right foot. On average, a 70kg female will burn 450 calories by riding for approximately 45 minutes.

15. Bounce

The trampoline is a fun way to add exercise into your day. Either kick the kids off and go it alone, or have a jump all together. Mix up your jumping style with running on the spot, single leg jumping, jumping jacks, straddle jumps and tuck jumps. If you don’t have your own trampoline, try an indoor trampoline centre.

16. Rock climbing

I haven’t met any kids who don’t love climbing. Incorporate some indoor rock climbing into your school holiday regimen, or if you have older kids try mastering some small rocks on your bush walks. It's great for developing hand eye coordination and upper-body strength.

17. Get splashing

Yes, swimming laps are a great low-impact fitness idea, but if you need to spice things up try something a little different. Stepping up in and out of the pool using your pool steps, leg-kicking while holding onto the side or onto a pool noodle, and treading water are all easy exercises to add to a swimming routine. (Post continues after gallery.)

18. Hula-hooping

Get that core workout in with your child’s hula hoop. It's a great way to train your tummy muscles and strengthen your back — just don’t be surprised if you child totally upstages you!

19. Sack race

The bounding movement of sack racing builds strength in your legs and gets your heart rate through the roof. You can use old pillow cases or the traditional burlap sacks, and even if you don’t win you’ll have a good gut laugh — and that’s a workout in itself.

Do you ever exercise with your kids? What's your favourite way to do it?

This story was originally published on Natalie Carter Talks Fitness. Read the original article here. You can also follow Natalie on Instagram here.