Exercising with babies and children

Exercising with KidsTo wrap up the week’s focus on health, I wanted to share some practical ways to exercise with children. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have time to exercise because of the kids. But in reality there are plenty of ways to incorporate exercise into my life with the little ones along. Of course, the concept of “me time” does get a little lost, but the trade-off is doing something fun and laughing with my boys – and that’s pretty good too.

Different exercises work for different ages. Running with a bub in a pram is very different to chasing after a toddler who has no interest in running paths, road rules or general self-preservation. Here are some ideas based on my own experience in Brisbane.

 

Exercise with Infants

Make sure you talk with doctor first before starting exercise and be gentle with your body. It is generally advised to wait six weeks after birth before exercising.

 

  • Gentle walks are a great way to start moving. Whenever you have to stop, try exercising your pelvic floor as well. I always found that my boys where happiest out and about in the pram in fresh air. If you are still thinking about what pushchair to get, then it might be a good idea to check out something like these ickle bubba pushchairs, but remember, that if you are using your pushchair whilst jogging, then you need to get a specifically designed jogging pushchair.
  • Once you have the clear from your doctor, trying jogging with your pram. Maybe meet up with some like minded friends at the same time. I am personally not much of a jogger, but I have friends who swear by the Riverside > Botanic Gardens > Southbank and back route.
  • Baby E and I really enjoyed Baby & Mummy Yoga. We went to Butterfly Yoga at Capalaba.
  • If you’d prefer to stay in, there are lots of great DVDs out there for Mummy & Baby exercise. And there’s always YouTube.
  • The Brisbane city council supports a program called Active Parks, where free exercise classes are run within the council park grounds. There are plenty designed for mum and bub. I particularly love anything Belinda from Mums-ercise runs – and she is very welcoming of kids of all ages – not just little babies.
  • Babies are happy in the water from a very early age. There are inflatable rings that can support your baby whilst you are in the water. You probably won’t be swimming laps, but you can certainly do some water running/aerobics.
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Exercise with Crawlers/Toddlers

Once babies are on the move and have more opinions, exercising can become a little more challenging. It can also become a whole more fun.

 

  • Depending on you baby’s temperament, the above all still apply.
  • There are some great activity centres out there that cater for little ones. Some trampoline parks, like SkyZone, have specific times for toddlers to enjoying jumping around. And that’s a great workout for parents too.
  • My boys love to dance – just jumping around the lounge, dancing like crazy to a few tunes is a great way to exercise.
  • Running around together at the park is fabulous exercise – just make sure you really play.
  • In life before kids, I did a spot of belly dancing. I was never fabulous at it, but I did love it. It’s still lots of fun to break out the world music beats and work a few moves for a delighted (and bemused) audience.

Exercise with Older Kids

As children start to be interested in their own sports and activities, it’s another great chance to exercise as a family.

  • Scooter or bike riding either as a family or jogging after your little one on wheels is another great way to exercise. Mix it up with a CityCat ride and you have a fun day out.
  • Whilst video games aren’t usually a great way to exercise, you can certainly work up a (fun) sweat on a Wii.
  • Activities like ice skating are another great way to exercise together. Going around the ice-skating rink a few times whilst supporting a child definitely lets you feel the burn!
  • Kicking around a ball, playing tag, challenging your kids to hand-ball or playing hopscotch are all fun ways to exercise together.

Do you exercise with your kids? What are your tips?

6 thoughts on “Exercising with babies and children

  1. Christine says:

    These are great ideas. I’m an active person and I love doing physical things with my preschooler. She’s just started scooting so we’re getting everywhere very quickly these days! I can’t wait till she’s old enough for us to run or climb together.

    • Robyna says:

      I love climbing trees with my five year old (so does my mother, his grandmother) which is quite a sight but I am sure that it does wonders for our fitness. My six year old has been known to set the pace at some of the Active Parks activities I have done – it’s wonderful when you can do it together.

  2. Hayley @ House of many minions says:

    Love your tips 🙂 with 6 children between 10 years down to 10 months finding time to blog is hard enough let alone exercise. So I do exactly what you have said – the littlest goes in the pram, the other children ride their bikes & we go to our local town oval with a soccer ball & football. I get a great cardio workout, we all have a great time full of laughs, one onto five, or seeing if I can catch our eldest as he sprints with the ball. Not to mention the memories they will have.

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