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A Nightmare Tamed: How to Exercise With Young Children

Posted Jul 31 2012 8:43am

When it comes to exercise, most people start the summer with good intentions. Longer days and better weather mean jogging in the street is a more viable (and appealing) option, while the thought of putting on a swimsuit is more than enough encouragement to head to the gym to shed a few pounds! However, if you have a young child or children, you might find your good intentions fall by the wayside... buried beneath a mountain of diapers and wet wipes.

There’s no doubt about it; children are a full time job and then some. If you’re a stay at home parent you can’t simply clock off for the evening, and if you work, you’ll likely want to spend your free time with your little ones. Either way, if you’re able to get down to the gym three times a week, you’re actually one of the lucky ones.

If you’re feeling the urge to get active this summer, don’t let your children become your excuse. There are a variety of activities you can get involved in with your children by your side, helping you shed that baby weight, filling your body with endorphins and encouraging your kids to live a healthy life as well. Here are a just a couple of ways you can exercise with your kids around, keeping them happy in the long holidays and preventing you from tearing your hair out – hair loss prevention being just another one of the many benefits of exercising with your children.
Walk
If you want it you'll find a way,
if not you'll find an excuse.
[ Photo credit ]
Ditch the car, it’s sunny outside and get those legs moving. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for America, published in 2008, the average adult needs to do  2 hours and 30 minutes  of brisk walking every week, combined with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days, just to stay healthy. In terms of walking that’s 30 minutes, five days a week.
Walking is good for the heart, lungs and bones, improving the cardiovascular system and boosting circulation too. It can have all the same benefits as jogging but without the potential for injury. During the fine days of summer, it’s much easier to drum up the enthusiasm to get out there and start walking. So make it your mission, every morning or after work, to get outside and get moving – kids in tow. The beauty of walking is that it’s suitable for children of all ages. If you have a young baby, try using a carrier and think about the extra calories you’ll be burning off along the way; this is also an opportune time to bond with your baby. Toddlers can be pushed along in a stroller – either using the opportunity to see the world or have a little snooze. Older children can walk, skate or scoot alongside you, using up their own boundless energy. Try to vary your walks to give your kids something new and interesting to look at.
If you don’t have 30 minutes to spare, five days a week, you can break it up even further. If you have to go to the convenience store don’t jump into your car, get your walking shoes on and boost your health while saving fuel too. Three 10-minute bursts of exercise a day adds up to 30 minutes.
Dance
Kids love to dance, so put on their favorite CD and dance along to the tunes. Some of the best exercises can be done to nursery rhymes, which involve a lot of bending and stretching – ideal for toning up those muscles. If you don’t know the moves, simply make up your own; march, jump up and down, skip and hop – do whatever you please, just keep that heart rate up and those muscles moving.
Yoga

[ Photo credit ]
Yoga is extremely beneficial for building strength, promoting good balance and improving posture, and kids can do it too. There are now a range of children’s yoga courses available where you can exercise alongside your child while picking up tips from the experts. If you can’t find a kids’ yoga venue near you, there are plenty of videos of simple poses available on YouTube to help you get started.
Key Note is to Stay Active
Even if you’re not into formal activities like those listed above, you can get healthy and active in the sunshine. Have a water-fight, skip around the garden, trampoline in the back yard and climb trees – just get out there, get moving and get healthy!

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Guest post by Lily Alberts
Lily Alberts is a writer and health fanatic who works with a licensed online pharmacy as well as a number of nutrition and fitness sites. She's written on everything from  hair loss prevention  to the sports physiotherapy, and tries to promote good health within her own family.
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