Gone are the days of your baby sitting in one place while you work out! While exercise becomes more difficult, it is even more important that moms continue to exercising with toddlers for the sake of both their physical and mental health. And just as important as each mom’s health, our workout habits will also be seen by our kids. So, next time you want to give up on your workout, remember who is watching. SEt an example for them even if you don’t want to do it for you right now. All that said, here are a few of my best tips for exercising with toddlers!
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Grab a Nice Jogging Stroller
Even if you don’t enjoy running, a jogging stroller is definitely worth the investment. Many people forget how good a workout you can get by simply going for a walk, especially with the added difficulty of pushing a stroller. Walking gets you the same workout running does, it just takes a little longer. But a long walk is great to get you and your kids outside for some fresh air. I personally love my Graco Fast Action Fold Jogger Travel System. It’s really affordable and it has grown with us too. If you want to find the perfect running stroller for you, check out my jogging stroller workouts article and learn exactly what to look for in a good jogging stroller!
Find YouTube Workouts That You Love
YouTube is a powerful tool for exercising with toddlers at home. I enjoy making my own workouts, but sometimes there just isn’t time! When that happens, I can fall back on my favorite YouTube workouts to still move my body that day. I personally love @growingannanas and @MadFit YouTube workouts. Anna from @growingannanas even puts out a monthly workout schedule and has an app too! You do have to pay for the Grow with Anna app, but it has incredible workouts, workout schedules, nutrition help, and amazing recipes! If you don’t like making your own workouts or simply don’t have time, YouTube is a great option. Plus, your toddler may enjoy watching or trying to follow along with you!
Try Dance Workouts
If your toddler is awake during your workouts, dance workouts are a fun cardio option that they can join in on! Even if they can’t do all the moves fully, they can dance along with the music and still feel included. MadFit has some amazing dance party workouts that I have really enjoyed myself! The Ariana Grande dance party workout is one of my favorites! I linked it below if you want to give it a try!
Set a Time Each Day That You Always Workout
One of the most important things to do to stay consistent exercising with toddlers is deciding on a specific time that you will work out every day. (Then sticking to it ;)) For me, that’s my son’s morning nap. For you, it might be first thing when you wake up, as soon as your spouse gets home, or maybe even as soon as the kids go to bed. This way, instead of putting off your workout all day until it doesn’t happen, you know exactly when you will be doing it. You’re body and mind will be ready and structure will help you achieve success.
Be Ready to Go
Once you decide on a time that you will workout each day, make sure that you are dressed and ready to go prior to that time. That way, the moment your child goes down for a nap, or your spouse gets home, or whatever it may be, you can immediately get to it without wasting time. This well help assure that you are able to complete your full workout.
Shift Your Expectations
Before kids, you can work out for however long you want and take your sweet old time if you felt like it. After kids, working out is a whole different story. Unless you plan on going to a gym with child care, you will have to shift the way that you exercise. If you are working out during nap time, sometimes your child will wake up from a nap early and want to join in on your workout. If your child is awake, you may have to put your workout on pause while you deal with a temper tantrum or grab them a snack. Sometimes they may want to try to do your workout with you. Workouts take a little more creativity when your exercising with toddlers, but shifting your expectations beforehand will help you be less frustrated when things do pop up.
Let Your Toddler be Your Weights
There are plenty of exercises that your toddler can join in on while helping you gain a little more muscle in the process! Try some piggy back squats, plank tunnels, downward dog tunnels, planks with them on your back, piggy back bear crawls, toddler chest press, and the list goes on. Not only will you get your workout done, but your toddler will absolutely love every minute of it.
Get Out Some Toddler Safe Exercise Equipment
While not all workout equipment is save for toddlers to play with, things like mini bands or light neoprene dumbbells are great toys to entertain them while you finish your workout. You can even show them a few things to try to workout with you.
Bear Crawl with Them if They are Still Crawling
If your child isn’t quite to the walking stage yet or isn’t walking all of the time, go ahead and crawl along with them throughout your day. It may not be a formal workout but following your child around while bear crawling is quite the workout.
Try Exercising Outside
I know my toddler is happiest whenever he is outside. If yours is like this too, try to squeeze in some workouts outside. This might be a walk, a strength stroller workout, jump roping, or a simple body weight workout you do in your yard. Working out outside is also a great option if you have a playset at home or a fenced in yard that your kids can play in while you workout. Everyone gets some Vitamin D and you’ll get a tan alongside your workout! Just make sure that you pick a workout that allows you to keep eyes on them.
Workout at Home
Getting to the gym requires a whole lot more planning when kids are involved. The best way to consistently get your workouts in with kids at home is to create a small workout space in an area of your home. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, mine is a small corner in our apartment. I built the whole thing for less than the cost of yearly membership to our local YMCA. I’ve detailed everything I personally use in my workout space in my article, “How to Create a Home Gym on a Budget.“
The fastest way to a toddlers heart is through snacks. I’ve had plenty of workouts where my toddler sat with a snack and happily watched me workout. Snacks can be a huge game changer to getting through a workout with a toddler.
I personally know just how hard it is to keep exercising with toddlers at home. It’s frustrating at times and it can cause you to lose motivation. I get it! It took me some time to figure out how to workout as a mom. These are the best tips and tricks I’ve come up with along the way. I hope they help you stay active too! As hard as it may be, don’t every forget who is watching and the example that you are setting for your children. Let your discipline and activeness be an example for your kids to emulate as they get older.