Summer brings the heat and a great time to share healthy habits and get fit with your kids. Exercise can be a good connection activity to do with your kids to have fun and burn some calories, too. Plus, you might be surprised how your kid’s toys can double as great fitness equipment tools.
5 ways to get fit with the kids this summer
If you’re heading to the beach, the sand can be a great place to train. First, make sure to wear footwear to protect your feet from possible scorching sand or debris. Then set up two beach towels about 50 feet apart and race your kids to the towel. Running on the sand allows for a softer landing and puts less stress on your ankles, knees and hips. It also acts as a resistance, so you’ll be pushing harder than when you’re running in the grass. Then try a few sand exercises. A tabata workout, which is a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT), alternates each exercise for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest. Perform each exercise a few times then move on to the next move. Your workout could use a variety of exercises including skater lunges, burpees, mountain climbers and plank rotations.
Take a dip
Whether you’re at the beach or backyard pool, grab your kids’ noodles to work on water running and other great core exercises. Simply wrap the noodle under your arms to keep your body upright and afloat. Run in place both forward and backwards for 3-5 minute sets.
Alternate these floating runs with knee waist twists. Simply lift your knees up to hip height (under the water with noodles still around your arms) and twist your shoulders one direction as you move your knees the other. If your feet touch the ground, try bounces where you jump out of the water pushing down on the noodle for support and balance. These exercise sets can be 1-2 minutes. Another water exercise to try is to lie back and straddle legs. It’s like a jumping jack on your back but more challenging for the legs than just floating on your back.
If you have a Slip ‘N Slide, you know how much your kids love the slipping and sliding on their bellies. Although it may seem a little crazy to run and slide especially since you may run out of slide length, don’t miss the fun to skate down the slide to improve balance and lower body strength. Or try a seal belly slide. Start on hands and knees and keeping your legs outstretched in an “up dog” yoga position, walk your arms forward and let your legs drag behind.
Have a ball
A traditional blown-up beach ball or even your kids’ soccer ball can be a great tool to strengthen the hamstrings and core. Simple lie down and place your feet up on the ball. Lift and lower your total body in an upward facing plank. Then try bending the knees and balancing with arms on the floor to the side, to lift and lower your hips. Plus, the balls can double as a Pilates ball for under the hips or upper back for both lower leg bicycles and under the upper back to increase the intensity of crunches over the ball.
Although baseball may be America’s favorite pastime, using the bat for more than just swinging can help increase agility and lower-body strength. Like the beach ball, the bat rolls nicely so it can be used for hamstring curls and bridge lifts by placing your feet on the bat. It’s a great tool for overhead shoulder lifts to help with keeping the arms balanced. Another favorite is to place the bat over the shoulders behind the head and working both sideways for side bending and rotationally for oblique work.
Whether you chose to work out by yourself or incorporate a few fitness moves into your playtime, you’ll see these exercies can produce results. Even as little as ten minutes of fitness can be worthwhile. So, grab the kids and get fit while you’re having fun.
– Andrea Metcalf Andrea Metcalf is a health and wellness expert, best-selling author, certified Personal Trainer and trusted television personality with appearances on the NBC Today Show, Steve Harvey, and Oprah.com. She is co-owner of Heat 3.0 Pilates Reformer and Hot Yoga Studios in Chicago. She is a regular contributor to Smart Lifebites. Her other stories include Maximize Your Walking Workout and What stretching can do for you.