The coronavirus pandemic has changed most of our lives in pretty drastic ways. What started in March has now carried on nearly into the fall, and it may be a winter where we’re dealing with COVID-19 as well.
Many kids are learning virtually, at least for the time being, and parents are often working from home. What can tend to happen in these situations is that your family may be less active than you all once were.
Kids may not be getting dedicated recess time, playgrounds may be closed, and you, as the parents, may find that you’re spending more time watching Netflix than you once did.
Now could be a valuable time to change how you work out, and you have opportunities to make it something you enjoy as a family. Being physically active is a good way for your family to stay healthy and happy, and it can connect you to one another even as we continue to deal with challenges.
There are ways that you can include kids in your workouts that are safe and fun.
Start a Walking or Running Routine
Walking or running are two of the simplest ways to exercise as a family and also relieve stress.
Of course, you always want to be safe. Before you start a walking or running routine with your kids, teach them about pedestrian safety. Drivers don’t always exercise appropriate care around pedestrians and in pedestrian-heavy areas according to The Levin Firm, a personal injury law firm. Give your kids lessons on being a safe pedestrian before you start walking or running together, and while you’re in action.
Once you’ve covered the basics, you can always offer your kids the chance to come with you on your walks or runs, but don’t try to force them or guilt them because that might backfire.
Start slow, too particularly if your kids are on the younger side.
With running in particular, going for a run once or twice a week is probably enough at first.
If you’re an avid runner or you’re very focused on getting in your miles, do your own run without your kids, and then, later on, go out with them because you’re not likely to meet all of your fitness goals with your kids, especially if they’re just starting out.
Be aware of things like distance and elevation when you’re running or even walking with your kids. What can seem like a small hill for an adult can be much more challenging for little legs.
You can always jog all the downhills and flats and then walk the hills.
On the weekends or when you have time, trails can be fun for everyone in the family, but make sure the trail is age and ability-appropriate.
Do Strength-Training Together
Bodyweight exercises are something that you can do with your kids and they’re likely to have a lot of fun with it. Come up with a structured routine of bodyweight exercises that both you and your child can do and try to aim to complete the routine at least twice a week.
Jumping jacks, squat jumps, burpees, and pushups are all simple exercises that children can do too.
Kids can even experiment with light one- or two-pound weights. Younger kids can use things like water bottles or beanbags.
Yoga is a fantastic option for kids and adults, and it’s something that you can easily do together.
Many of the benefits of yoga for adults are the same as the benefits for children. For example, yoga can help build strength and flexibility.
Yoga has additional benefits for kids, however.
When kids practice yoga, it can help them be focused and improve their concentration. It can help them be more disciplined and mindful, and it’s a good way for them to express themselves, even if they don’t necessarily have the words to do so.
Dancing is an underrated workout. It can give you the cardio you need to keep your heart healthy, and for kids it lets them get their energy out in a productive way. Dance can also help kids with balance and coordination.
There are dance workout videos you can follow along with, or you can just put some music on and move in the living room every day.
If your child is older, you can do something like Zumba together but from home.
If you want to get a workout in and keep your kids active, head to the playgrounds if they’re open in your area.
There are outdoor workouts designed for adults to do on playground and park equipment, so have them available on your phone. While your child plays, you do your exercises, so you maximize your time.
There are so many outdoor games you can play with your kids that will have both of you moving.
Tag is an easy example. This is a great way to get your heart pumping, and it’s good to help your kids learn to follow rules and guidelines.
Relay races and red-light-green-light are other good outdoor game options.
Sports don’t have to be organized to give your kids a great workout. If there’s a sport you like, head outside with your child to teach them more about it and to practice.
To provide more structure to your work out, you can plan drills, or you can practice the sport for a set amount of minutes each day.
The more fun you can make exercise for your kids the more likely it’s going to be something they think about fondly and want to continue to incorporate into their lives.
Get creative from time-to-time and think about making an obstacle course or having a competition among the members of your family.
Your kids will start to build the idea that exercise isn’t a chore but that it is enjoyable in addition to it being a habit in their everyday life.