How to Work Out at Home with Kids
Having a baby changes your body. And then you have a baby, so it’s really hard to get a chance to work out and minimize the changes. Anyone with me so far?
I’m here to tell you it can be done, even if you’ve had your fifth baby (or more) and you have rugrats all over the house who need things and it seems impossible to find time for yourself. If you want to exercise, nothing can stop you, including those kiddos. Here are some basic ways to find time to exercise, as well as some ways to exercise while you’re surrounded by kids.
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Get Up Early
I’ve already told you why I love getting up early, and lately I start with five minutes of yoga. Some people really thrive in the morning and working out then is the best time, if you can manage to get out of bed that early after wake-ups with the kids in the middle of the night. For others, like The Lad, evening is better. Fight for those early hours if your best workout happens in the morning. Plan the night before with your partner to let them get up with the kids, if possible, so that you feel more rested. Plan a nap into your schedule in the afternoon, after your successful morning workout. Set out clothes ahead of time so you don’t have to fumble in the dark to look for them. Put your alarm across the room to help you actually get out of bed. Select your home workout video before you go to bed, so you don’t have the excuse to sit and scroll instead of getting sweaty.
You don’t have to work out in the early morning every day. A few times a week is a good goal to start with. Some time to sweat while the kids are still asleep is a great way to start the day. If your kids all nap on the same schedule (hashtag blessed), you can also fit a work out in then.
Get A Babysitter
If you’re lucky enough to have the funds and an available babysitter during the daytime, it’s worth it to spend some of that budget on a work out! When you’re planning to work out at home, you can even get a mother’s helper, or younger aged sitter, because you’ll still be in the house for any problems or emergencies that you’d trust an older sitter to handle while you’re away from home. If you’re even luckier to have a gym membership, you can get an older sitter and go to the gym, where you can use the equipment and the showers without feeling a time crunch from kids who are hollering. I’ve been told Planet Fitness has a free pass on their website if you want to try being gone from home to work out and see how it goes with the babysitter. It also gives you an excuse to get a new workout shirt or outfit, if you’ll be going out in public to do it.
Trade Work Out Nights with Your Spouse
Back when I was training for a half marathon after Young Lassie #2, we would switch off which nights we got to go run. After he got home, it was still light out because it was summer. That meant we could run outside, and one night I would go, and then he would go the next night. The other one stayed with the kids to allow the exercise time. We would sit with the family during dinner but not eat, then go run while playtime and bedtime happened. Then get home in time to help with putting kids to bed, and shower and eat afterward. It takes some planning, but if you can convince your partner to do this, you’ll not only have an advocate in your fitness journey because they’ll be on it with you, but also you’ll motivate each other (he didn’t skip last night, so you can’t skip tonight).
Okay, so those two options aren’t for everyone. Some of you may have spouses who aren’t interested in working out at all, or budgets that won’t allow the extra expense. That’s okay, because you can still work out even with kids all around you. One way is to do yoga with them. Kids’ attention spans aren’t very long, so you may have to sneak in five minutes here and there. But if you do a routine like this before nap time to help calm them down, then you can do another one when they wake up to help them feel awake and refreshed. There are even silly ones like this Frozen yoga routine that my kids love. Even a few minutes here and there is good for you. Amazon Prime also has some great Zumba dance routines that my kids love to jump around to while I actually do the work out.
Go for A Walk
If it’s spring or summer, take the kids for a walk. Put them in the stroller, get them on their bikes, or let them toddle along. While your pace may not be fast, getting out and doing some walking is really good for you and it gets you into the routine. As you build a habit out of this, the kids will get used to it (they thrive on routine) and may be able to go for longer. Their little bodies will get stronger and more enduring just like yours will. Switch it up and walk at a nature center or by a river sometimes.
Cardio in the Yard
Let the kids play outside while you do a work out in the yard. It doesn’t matter what the neighbors think (they may even be inspired)--just get it done. As long as the kids are distracted, you can get in at least part of a work out.
Do Squats with Kids
Throughout the day, you’re holding kids, right? What if every hour you did ten squats while holding a heavy toddler? I’m serious. I’ve done this in the bathroom before holding a baby while big sis sits on the potty (for the millionth time) during potty training season. You can do it while you’re folding laundry and holding a laundry basket. Kids make great weights, and by the end of the day if you do this ten times, you’ll feel the burn. You can also do pushups with a baby laying on the floor. When you let yourself down to the floor, kiss their cheek. Then with the next pushup, kiss the other cheek. The baby will love it, and you’ll get a bit of a workout in.
Hopefully these tricks give you a chance to prioritize your health and work in some exercise during the day, no matter how tired you are or how many kids you have at home. Although it may take careful planning, taking care of your body is important, and something you should prioritize. If you have more tips for me, I can use them! Drop a comment and let me know what worked for you.
For more on handling responsibilities and obligations with kids, check out How Work At Home Moms Handle Sick Kids.