I don’t know if any other mamas out there can relate, but around this time of year I feel very sluggish! My social media feeds are flooded with everyone else and their New Years’ Resolutions to get fit and fabulous, while I sit my 8-months-pregnant-self on the couch with my feet up to keep my ankles from swelling any more!
Getting yourself or your kiddos moving doesn’t have to be anything all that grand or glorious, though. There are countless ways to easily incorporate physical activity into even the most busy of days. The following are some of my favourite ideas and inspiration to get me off my couch and moving with my kids!
Impromptu Dance Parties
Who doesn’t love a good dance party? My toddler has learned how to press the “play” button on my old ipod player down in our basement… earlier this week, I came out from putting on a load of laundry to hear an epic Phil Collins song from the Disney Tarzan soundtrack! Of course, much dancing ensued! Whether you’re wanting a little dose of cardio, need a little emotional reset or a pick-me-up, or just want to have some silly fun with your kids, pop on some tunes and bust out your best dance moves!
Another really fun and hilarious thing to do with little kids is to pretend to be different animals and move like they do. Believe me, your triceps will feel it if you spend even five minutes pretending to walk like a crab! Chasing your kids around on all fours like a cranky bear, or wriggling across the carpet like a snake also activates muscle groups not often utilized in conventional workouts! You could even add classical music and have your kiddos help decide which animals different sounds and instruments conjure up, and then act them out!
Random Squats and Lunges
Seize every often-overlooked opportunity to activate those big leg muscles! Do you know how many squats you can fit in in the time it takes you to brush your teeth? Why not make it a random habit that you do 5 lunges off each leg after every time you change a diaper? Have you tried doing squats and lunges while holding your children? (Added weight bonus, and my kids think it is absolutely hilarious!) Do some squats or backwards lunges while you load your dishwasher or fold laundry! Pretty soon your toddler will start to copy you, and then all your friends and family will think that you’re crazy! (but at least you will have really strong legs!)
Slide Your Children around in Boxes or Baskets
I have no idea why, but my kids think it is the greatest thing in the world to climb into a big box or a laundry basket and then be pushed around the house! True, it’s not really giving them any exercise, but it is a workout extraordinaire for me! Lately, I’ve resorted to having my toddler load up her laundry basket with stuffed animals and pushing them herself, which keeps her busy and giggling, and prevents me from going into premature labour!
Simply head outside your door, and the options for physical activity are vast! We’re fortunate enough to live right beside a big green space, with plenty of walking trails and parks and playgrounds close by. Pushing little ones in a stroller, or playing with them at a playground is a great way to get everyone moving. Or, if you want to get good at running (and do more squats and lunges), play “catch” in an open field with a two-year-old!
This past year, I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked to. The greater part of my summer was spent with my head close by a bucket (compliments of morning sickness), and now on many days the idea of bundling everyone into snowsuits and heading out makes me tired just thinking about it! But for this upcoming year, I am hoping to spend a lot more time in the great outdoors with my kiddos.
Check out this link for a really cool blog with a tracker and inspiration to spend 1000 hours outside with your family in 2020!
Home Workout Videos
I’m also a big fan of home workout videos – you can get them from the library, or stream them online, and there are so many different and fun options to choose from. With a few inexpensive hand weights and maybe a bit of other gear, you are all set to build strong muscles and prevent yourself from getting injured schlepping your kiddos around! My toddler likes to “help” and do the workouts alongside me too – she has a little set of 1 lb hand weights and an exercise band that she uses when I do (which is super cute, and motivating too!). Both my kids love to pile on me for a “horsey ride” when I attempt to do anything resembling a plank! I find it’s much easier than attempting to get out to a workout class or a gym, and my kids can watch and participate in their own ways, and learn how important physical activity is too!
What do you do to fit physical activity into your days, and to get your whole family moving? Share your tips and stories in the comments below!