It’s time to get back on the horse. It’s time to hit the gym. It’s time to work up a sweat and take care of ourselves.
BUT… we have children to attend to. We can’t just run to the gym for an hour or hit up a yoga class at the nearest amazing studio without arranging for some sort of childcare. Instead, let’s work up that sweat at home during nap time or a screen time break for the littles.
Television or a computer game may not be in the cards for your kiddos. And I understand. But in our house, if 20 minutes in front of the TV means M and I can accomplish a quick and effective 20 minute workout or make a healthy meal, we consider it a win-win.
Without further ado:
5 Ways to Exercise At Home With Kids
Often after bed or during naps, M and I do a quick 20 minute burpee workout. We do a set number of burpees each minute starting at the beginning of the minute. Then we rest between sets (i.e. the remaining portion of each minute after we’ve finished our predetermined number of burpees). I typically do 3 – 4 burpees per minute. M does 5 – 6.
At times, we’ve started this workout during a nap only to have one or both of the boys wake up. Have no fear. You can do this workout even if they are awake. T and J have watched us finish the workout. And T has tried to participate with us, as well.
Not sure how to do a burpee? Great burpee instructions here!
Yoga At Home
Before having kids, I had a monthly membership to a yoga studio near my home. I LOVED it. I attended classes several times a week and really liked the feeling of calm and collected combined with exhausted and sweaty I felt after each class. But with two little boys at home now, I rarely get to a yoga studio. I miss it, but don’t get too hung up on it knowing I’ll get back into more studio yoga down the road.
For now, though, I get to my mat in two ways. First off, our building offers yoga classes three times a week in the gym in our building. Let’s call that an anomaly because I suspect that’s not an option for most of you. But I also like pulling out my mat in our living room even if it’s just for 15 – 20 minutes of stretching and poses. Often times, T likes to join in the fun and does his own down dogs while I work on my poses.
While the boys sleep, I have tried some yoga videos I own (I have two) and have searched on You Tube for some videos. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m also trying to get my certified yoga instructor sister to post some classes online for me. Thus far, giant fail. (womp, womp)
But I’ve been intrigued by Gaiam TV. They offer various channels, but the yoga channel is the one that’s struck my fancy. I have been fumbling around with it a bit. I haven’t made the dive just yet. They do offer a free 30-day trial so it’s easy to check it out without putting anything at risk. But I think this would be a great option to incorporate exercise at home, no matter your level of yoga experience, without being tied down by the limited variety of just one or two videos.
No matter the avenue (You Tube, Gaiam TV, or some other self-designed series), yoga can definitely be a great way to find peace, calm, and health in your own home even with little ones napping down the hall.
If you haven’t invested in a TRX appartus and enjoy working out at home or would like to find time to do it, add this to your holiday or birthday wish list! Exercise options are endless. And you can target just about any area of your body, and focus on muscle toning, stretching, or endurance (by increasing your heart rate during various exercises).
I’m no professional personal trainer, but TRX exercise videos showcasing in-depth tutorials, workout combinations, and ideas to use the TRX abound on You Tube. You’ll certainly not run out of ideas to mix things up. I get bored with a particular set of exercises pretty quickly, so the TRX provides some great variety if you like it.
We’ve owned one for a few years. M and I both use it. Recently, he’s used it more than me while I’ve spent much of the last three years being pregnant and recovering from pregnancy. But in the last few months, I’ve been jumping back on the exercise bandwagon and use the TRX on occasion.
If you purchase it and plan to use it in your house, just be sure to also purchase the over-the-door accessory (called the Door Anchor) so you can hang it over just about any door. That makes it much easier to use at home. This option includes the TRX, the Door Anchor, and starter videos.
Need some TRX workout ideas? Below are just a few beginner TRX workouts on You Tube, but search for TRX workouts at your level and you’ll find tons of free video tutorials and ideas.
Walk The Stairs
We live in a 50+ story high rise building. So it’s easy for us to climb the stairs once (or twice when M feels ambitious) while the other stays home with the boys, while they’re awake or asleep. This proves to be a great bang for your buck. Much like burpees and TRX workouts, you elevate your heart rate and work up a sweat while also toning muscles in a pretty limited amount of time. M has even take T with him on occasion and walked the stairs together. T completed about ten flights and then M carried him for several more (uping the ante on the workout, for sure).
Many of you likely don’t live in a 50+ high rise building, or even a 10 – 15 story building, which would also work perfectly. Can you find a place outside to walk some stairs? Do you have a few flights in your house you can sprint up and down several times? Maybe you work in a tall building? Take this idea to the office and walk a dozen or two dozen flights of stairs midday. It won’t take more than 15 – 20 minutes. And you won’t get all that sweaty as long as you don’t climb too quickly. Consider it your healthy mental break.
Online Videos & Apps
Aside from Gaiam TV and TRX videos, tons of apps and other videos exist that could be great alternatives for finding a way to sneak in a workout. Honestly, one of the hardest struggles I have is just deciding what to do! If I’m going to do a toning series, what exercises should I combine to make a balanced and sufficient workout? Videos and apps with predetermined combinations and sets help me tremendously to stay on track when I do make time to exercise. The Nike+ Training Club app is one of my favorites.
Bonus: Just Play With Your Kids
Last but far from least, let’s give ourselves a little credit for the health benefits of getting down on the floor or heading out to the park to play or run around with our kids. Not only do we get physical health benefits, but high-quality time with our kids obviously brings immense emotional benefits as well.
I know this last one is just so obvious that it’s almost not worth mentioning. And it’s not “at home”. That’s why I didn’t count it in my “5 ways”. But maybe we all need a reminder to get up off our duffs, throw the TV remote or video game controller back in the cabinet, and get out and PLAY!