Easy Exercise Ideas for Moms with Young Children
As a stay at home mom with a baby and a toddler, it's often difficult to find time to work out. My kids can't be left alone, so I have to find ways to work out with them by my side. I don't have a treadmill or any other exercise equipment at home, so my indoor options are limited. Since the weather is cooling off, now is the perfect time to get into the swing of a work-out routine. I've come up with some work out ideas for moms with youngsters. So grab your kids and get ready for some exercise!
Get fit with P90X
Work out DVDs
Who says you can't afford a personal trainer? Work-out DVDs are great for moms because they can be done at home at any time of day. There are thousands of work-out DVDs to choose from including every type of exercise. Whether you prefer Pilates, yoga, cardio, step aerobics, jazzercise, or whatever, there is a DVD for you. One of my favorites right now is Crunch Fat Burning Pilates with Ellen Barrett. It's a cardio workout with Pilates based toning. I always feel great after I workout to this DVD.
Start your search at the local library. Work out DVDs can be checked out at the library, so don't feel like you have to go out and spend $50 on a few new DVDs. Try the library's copy first, and if you find one you'd really like to own, buy it. The great thing about using work out DVDs is that when you get bored with one, you can easily switch to another.
Walk or Run
If the weather is nice, another great option is to walk or run with the kids in the stroller. My kids love to go for walks, so this is an acceptable and popular form of exercise at our house. We usually stop at the park at the end of a walk for added fun. I used mapmyrun.com to map out a two mile loop in my neighborhood. Knowing how far I've walked gives me a sense of accomplishment when I'm done. If you have older children, let them ride their bikes while you walk or run.
Many of the parks in my area have walking paths around children's playgrounds. If your older kids enjoy going to the park, let them play while you walk laps around the playground. You can keep a close eye on the kids and exercise at the same time. Invite other moms with children to join you so your kids have someone to play with and you have someone to chat with while you walk. Make it a fun outing for everyone.
Get the Right Equipment
Child Carrier Seats for Bikes
Ride a Bike
Just like going for walks, my kids love bike rides. If you have older kids, they can ride their bikes along with you. If your kids are too young to ride on their own, invest in a carriage that can be pulled behind your bike while you ride. The kids can sit safely inside the carriage and enjoy the ride. Pulling the carriage will make your work-out even harder, increasing your heart rate and burning more calories.
If you only have one young child, you can buy a seat that attaches to the bike, either behind your seat or on the bar in front of your seat. Your child will enjoy a fun bike ride while you enjoy a healthy work-out. Map out a route around your neighborhood and surrounding areas. Find local bike paths for a change of scenery.
Biking is a great way to get exercise, have fun, and save money on gas. If you live within a couple miles of the grocery store, bank, library, and post office, use your bike to run errands. Combine entertainment for the kids, running errands, and an exercise routine all in one. Biking regularly can help you lose weight and improve your overall health. Always make sure everyone riding wears a helmet.
Join a Moms' Fitness Group
Check your city's website for fitness classes or groups designed specifically for moms with young children. Many hospitals offer mommy and baby exercise classes for moms with babies under one year old. The classes encourage interaction between baby and mom while providing a form of exercise at the same time.
I've also seen organized groups of moms walking with strollers at the local park. They sing children's songs as they walk, stopping periodically to do sit ups, lunges, push ups, or other strengthening exercises on the grass. I'll have to admit it was a little strange to watch a group of grown women scurrying through the park singing "Twinkle, Twinkle." But hey, the moms were getting exercise while connecting with other mothers. Who cares if it looks a little goofy to passersby?
Groups like this might already exist in your community, so do some digging. If you come up empty handed, start a group of your own. Stroller Strides and Stroller Fit are organizations that specialize in setting up mommy walking groups. Check their websites to see if there's a group in your area.
Join a Gym with a Childcare Center
Many gyms and fitness centers have on site childcare centers. You have to be a member of the gym to take advantage of this option, which can cost anywhere from $25-$60 per month. If you're willing to spend that money each month on a membership, this is a fabulous option for working out. The kids can hang out in the fun kids' zone while you spend an hour or so working out. The number of hours your children can be left in the childcare area is usually limited to about two hours. You must also remain on the premises after dropping your kids off. Don't try to sneak next door for a caramel frappuccino!
As a member of a gym, you can join fitness classes, such as spinning, step aerobics, Pilates, ab workouts, yoga, dance, and more. You can also take advantage of the gym's exercise equipment such as free weights, treadmills, rowing machines, ellipticals, stair steppers, and stationary bicycles. Take your iPod and enjoy some of your favorite tunes while you work out on the machines. Some fitness centers also have basketball, volleyball, racquetball, and tennis courts, in addition to swimming pools. All of these options offer fun and interactive ways to get some exercise.
Fitness Books for Moms
Ask Someone to Watch the Kids
If you prefer to exercise without your kids nipping at your heels, schedule work outs a few times per week when someone else can take care of them. Find a friend or neighbor who is also interested in working out and exchange childcare with each other. While you work out, your neighbor can watch your kids, and vice versa. If you are willing to pay someone, hire a babysitter who can watch your children three or four days per week at the same time each day. If you're committed to paying a babysitter, you may be more likely to stick to an exercise schedule.
If you live close to family members, such as grandparents, aunts, or uncles, ask if they'd be willing to watch the kids for an hour here and there. It never hurts to ask for help. Another option is to exercise after your significant other gets home from work. Let him have some time with the kiddos while you take off for a quick walk or run.
Spend a little time each week exercising. It will do great things for your physical and emotional health. If you as a mom feel good, it will rub off on your family. If you have any other ideas for easy workouts for moms, post a comment below. I'd love to hear some new ideas!