It’s easy to get complacent with fitness when you have children. The days are already busy enough, the evenings are made for collapsing onto the sofa and no-one is dragging this mama out of bed any earlier than the baby already does! Doing exercise as a family makes things far simpler. Firstly, you get to instil a love of activity and exercise from a young age and secondly, you get to wear your children out for the rest of the day. Win win. So here we go, seven easy ways to get fit as a family…
We’re late to jump on the bandwagon but Geocaching is fast growing in popularity. Basically, you go on a treasure hunt, using a GPS device such as your phone, and follow coordinates to track down geocaches (containers). With a network that’s growing by the day, there are plenty of geocaches to hunt around the world adding a lot more excitement to your average family walk. Download the app, pick a location and get hunting!
Swimming is pretty popular in our household but it’s rare that we all go together; instead it seems to be swimming lessons and the occasional adult only attempt when we’re feeling sporty. Plenty of pools offer fun sessions which contain floats and inflatables but even if they don’t, you can have mini races, see who can touch the bottom or swim through your legs or even practice running in the water. The added resistance means it’s more of a workout that you think, especially if you’re lugging a baby around with you at the same time!
3. Do the housework
It needs to be done but it needn’t just be you doing it. Enlist the kids and set them a variety of jobs to be done as quickly as possible – housework is actually a great (and very functional) way of getting exercise without realising it. NRS Healthcare designed a great pack (you can download it here) which, amongst other things, shows exactly how many calories are burnt with each chore and includes a free star chart for you to use… prize for the first to finish? Sounds exactly like my cup of tea. Oh and you get to legitimately get help with tidying up for once. Hurrah!!
4. Go fly a kite
Whether it’s at the beach or in the park, flying a kite on a windy day is a quintessential family activity. But did you realise it’s actually pretty good exercise too? All that running to collect it and relaunch it between crashes aside, you’re working your arms and core muscles just by controlling the kite!
5. Walk the dog
If you have a dog, then it’s a given that you’re going to have to walk it. Pack aside the fear of tackling a dog and a child (just us?!) and embrace the family walks. If you don’t have a dog, why not borrow a neighbour’s or try a dog-sharing site such as Borrow My Doggy which matches you with a local dog-owner to literally borrow their dog when they’re out. A dog takes the boredom factor out of any walk with kids and gives you a reason to have to go out – even when the weather isn’t perfect. You’ll feel better for it afterwards, I promise!
6. Dance it out
Especially useful at the end of a long day, a dance party is more that just a chance to loosen up. It’s a great way to burn plenty of calories. Now is also a chance for me to admit that I may just do this by myself in front of the highchair in order to ‘entertain’ the baby (who loves it FYI). Select some cheesy pop, turn the music up loud and dance around like crazy people for 10-15 minutes. If dancing at home isn’t for you, why not check out one of Big Fish, Little Fish’s family friendly raves? They’re designed with kids in mind and held in major cities across the UK throughout the year. Join in the theme and dress appropriately to get maximum enjoyment out of them and get prepared to see some serious head banging – hopefully not from the adults!
7. Have a sock fight
I love this idea from Wellness Mama; ball up all of the socks, grab as many as you can carry each and set up ‘battle ground’ either in the garden or a large (safe!) room in your house. Count to three and let the ‘sock-ball’ fight commence as you each try to hit the others with your socks! The only rule is that you can’t throw from the same place more than once. Katie suggests letting each fight last for a couple of minutes before re-setting and starting again. Each shot that hits a person gains you a point if you want there to be a winner at the end… otherwise, get armed and enjoy the pandemonium!
And there we have it, seven easy ways to exercise as a family. What do you think? Any you’d like to try?
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