How to Exercise WITH your Kids

So, you are trying to lose the couple pounds that you gained, well, during life. But as a stay at home dad, your time is taken up trying to keep one kid from destroying the house, and/or keep the baby alive. You’ve tried waking up early to work out or run, but you found that it just makes you a grumpy a-hole the rest of the day. In my opinion, if I were you, I would try to go to bed earlier, I have no problem heading to bed at 9pm, or earlier. There is nothing on TV that I can’t DVR and wait until later to watch, sans commercials. I understand if life gets in the way, or it is your only time to have a conversation or be with your partner. Anyway, for you, waking up early isn’t an option, you need coffee to get you moving in the morning. The evening is no better, because you are busy getting dinner ready, getting the kids to bed, and getting ready for the next day, and you want to maybe spend some alone time with the wife. You are tired and cranky at the end of the day and just want to take a load off. I get it, it is hard work being the father of the house. Well, now that the older kid has decided that he is too old for naps these days, you dont have time in the middle of the day to workout.

Not gettin up.

Not gettin up.

 

I refuse to be cute until I get my coffee.

I refuse to be cute until I get my coffee.

The only thing left to do is exercise with your kids. You can have them do Wii Fit with you, or try to do whatever workout video you are doing. I have a friend that does yoga with her 2 year old son (the Facebook pictures are really cute – downward dog with a diaper peeking out of his baby sweat pants). They will probably goof off and get bored, but they may like it. If your weather is nice, you can take your kids for a hike. Depending on their age, they can ride a bike while you run, or you can push them in a stroller or tow them in the bike trailer. Though you may want to bring something to keep the older ones attention. Play “I Spy” with them, and point out nature things, or different cars, or whatever. You can also do teaching things while you run.  Have them count stuff, do math, read signs, etc. Sometimes I give in and let him bring his leapster (an educational-ish Gameboy – which is a handheld gaming system for those who didn’t experience adolescence in the 90s). Whatever you got to do to prevent, “Daddy, I’m bored.” or all out crying.

Working out on the Wii

Working out on the Wii

Whatever you can do to make it a game, your kids will want to do. Probably over, and over, and over again. Play some soccer, have them kick the ball, and you get it and bring it back. Basketball or football will work too. Lifting them up to make baskets, or chasing them around the yard will be fun. Your kid is probably having a good time making daddy run around, and you are burning calories. Another thing is a game called Hyperdash, where you put colored/numbered discs around a room or yard. The control stick tells you what color or number to go to, and you run to that color/number. It is like wind sprints, but it’s a game. If you are beating your kid by a large amount, do jumping jacks, burpees, or pushups after each disk.

If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can also use your kids as exercise equipment. The Dashing Daughter weighs about 18 lbs right now, but after pushing her straight up in the air 30 or 40 times (incline press-ish) my muscles start to burn.  Use your older kid for bicep curls. Pick them up under the shoulders about 20 times. Or have them hold onto arms. Do lunges or squats while holding one of your kids. Try push ups with a kid on your back, and more power to you if you can do it with a 30 lbs squirming, laughing kid on your back, because I can’t do more than 2. And that was a couple years ago.  You can use that hyperdash game in the house, but if you don’t allow running in the house (we don’t), it may not work.

Be sure not to do sudden or rapid movements with the baby, and count cutesy style to keep her entertained.  Also watch out for drool.

Or play tug of war; you use one or two arms against their entire body. Do no more than 10, after which, let them win. Say things like “I’m winning, I’m winning. Oh now your winning, your beating me, oh no. Uh oh, I am coming back, I’m winning” during the workout. If your kid is like mine, he will want to do this until your arm falls off. If your dog is big enough, do this with them too. Another trick is to race your older kids. Do wind sprints, one end of the yard or playground, or something to the other. To make it fun, they have to win more often than not, but you can give them a head start, let them turn around sooner, you do four laps while they only do two, etc. Or trip and fall, so they can come from behind, laughing at your clumsiness.  All this will instill a sense of fun with exercise, and hopefully instill good habits in you kids for later in life.

I am counting in a growly voice to keep the dog interested and pull harder.  Also after a 5 or 10, let him get the rope.  Praise him for getting the rope away from you.  Then do it again.  It also works with kids.

After you exercise with your kids, be sure to reward them (except the infant) with a “treat.” A small glass of chocolate milk, some watered down Gatorade, some dried apricots, something healthy, but special. Be sure to treat yourself too. Just remember that if you are trying to lose weight, treat yourself to something healthy.  You want to stay good looking so the wife has a sexy stay at home dad to come home to.

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