Kids need to run, play and expend energy outside everyday. When it’s time for them to go out, join the fun and get in a healthy dose of activity for you, too. Here are a few ideas for you and your family.
Running in short bursts raises your heart rate, improves cardio health and burns calories.
Tag. Kid love to be chased. Running after them is a great way for you to get in interval training. Running in short bursts raises your heart rate and promotes the EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) training that improves cardio health and burns calories.
Old school games. Remember the races you played as a kid? The potato sack race, the wheelbarrow race, and the 3-legged race? These are challenging total body exercises and high intensity training. And guaranteed to spark a lot of laughter.
Push and squat. Pushing your kids on swings engages your legs, core, and arms. As your child swings forward, sit your hips back, bend your knees and squat (keeping abdominals engaged). As the swing comes back, push it forward by extending your arms completely. Beginners can do 10 to 15 reps, and you can work your way up to 20.
Lunges. You can walk and lunge or do it standing stationary. Step one foot forward with hips square, bend (as far as your body allows) both knees keeping your front knee over the ankle, then straighten knees. Repeat until you have completed 10 to 15 (or 20, if you’re able) reps on each side. If your core and balance are strong, try a walking lunge. And, for the advanced, add a balance by bringing your knee in toward your chest before stepping forward for the next lunge! Repeat 2 to 3 times.
Push-ups. Choose a bar, bench, or flat surface at the playground that will challenge you. With your abdominals engaged, place your hands shoulder distance apart, walk your feet out so you are in one long plank position (heels lifted), bend your elbows out bringing your chest (not your neck) in between the hands. Your range will depend on your strength and flexibility. If you can only go a few inches, do that. If you can go the full range, keep working at it. Start with 10 to 15 reps, 2 to 3 times.
Step-ups. Find a bench or flat surface. Step one foot onto the bench, press through that foot engaging hamstrings, gluts, and quads (and core!) and bring the other to meet at the top of the bench. Step down (with control), alternating legs. For a greater challenge, stay on the same leg until you have completed a set, then switch to the other leg. And, for the advanced, add a balance at the top. For great core, legs and cardio, do 10 to 15 on each side.
Pull-ups. Find a bar that you can hang from while still keeping your feet on the ground (unless you can do pull-ups without assistance!). Bring hands slightly wider than shoulder distance, drop your hips down so that you are hanging underneath the bar, walk your feet forward a foot or so (your hips should still be directly below the bar). Bending your elbows out, pull yourself up until your head reaches over the bar. Your legs are there for support – use them if you need to. These are tough but very effective. Try to work yourself up to 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Plank. Planks are a brilliant way to work your core and shoulder stabilizers. On a grassy area, place elbows directly under your shoulders, walk feet out until legs are straight, forming one long line. Hold the plank for 20 seconds (if you’re a beginner) or 30+ seconds (advanced). If you feel it in your lower back, you are either holding it too long or are not holding it properly. Be sure to engage the abdominals by pulling your stomach in towards your spine.
These are just a few ways to keep you strong and fit while spending time with your kids. Share your great ideas in Comments so we can all learn from each other.