Meet

Family Fitness: Workout with your Kids

One of the biggest roadblocks I hear from moms of littles is that they don’t have time to workout or don’t have childcare to workout alone. If joining a gym with childcare isn’t in your budget or your community, it can be hard to know what step to take next. It’s taken me trial and error to figure out what works for my family and overcoming my own expectations of what I think a workout looks like. And sure enough, just like parenting, as soon as you figure out that age or stage, it will change again – so be flexible! Ha!

If you can, I highly recommend working out alone or with a friend for support. It’s a great mental refresh as well as a physical workout. But it also can be doable to include your kids. It has the added bonus that they see what taking care of yourself and your health looks like, setting them up for their own healthier future.

Here are a few ways that I’ve found to include your kids and still hit your fitness goals:

Indoors:

  • Get kid size equipment. While I’m doing some arm reps with my 15-20 lb. dumbbells, my 4 year old mimics me with some 3 lb. weights. My 8 year old got an inflatable punching bag for Christmas – we both have a set of boxing gloves to kickbox together. #ad
  • YouTube exercise videos targeting kids. Search “mommy & me” or “kids fitness.” One of our favorites is Cosmic Kids Yoga – she tailors each episode to tie into a popular kids franchise like Trolls movies or Pokemon and tells the story as each move progresses. It’s a great attention grabber and by the end I’m sweating too!
  • GoNoodle is a series of web-based videos, games, and activities focused on introducing short bursts of physical exercise for ages 5-12. It was introduced to us because it was used in my son’s public school classroom for “brain breaks.” We were super excited when we discovered they also have an app on Roku and we can dance along in front of our TV!

Outdoors:

  • Join a program that allows you to bring your kids along. In our area, there are great programs like Fit for Mom where everyone brings their infants in strollers. Some even plan activities to keep your preschoolers busy while you work out. Other programs like Camp Gladiator will also allow you to bring your stroller depending on the instructor/format.
  • Use your backyard! Kids are contained. Grab your jump rope while they run around or setup family obstacle courses to get your heart rate up.
  • Hiking has become a new family favorite of ours. Start out with a good infant carrier or backpack and then tailor hike length and difficulty to the age of your kids. Sometimes we just go to a local city park that’s a little more on the wilderness vibe and we plan them into many of our travels. Our kids were slow going and the little one needed some shoulder rides but we hiked about 3 miles to see the Grand Canyon! Start them young with the hope they’ll develop a love for hiking as individuals as they grow.
hiking as a family at Craters of the Moon, Idaho
Family hike at Craters of the Moon, Idaho
  • Jogging/Walking: Think you can’t get out and run? That’s what jogging strollers are for. Check online marketplace sites for great deals on resale strollers as well. When they are too big for the jogging stroller, get creative. I’ve let my kids play on the neighborhood playground while I run laps around the perimeter keeping an eye out. It didn’t take me as long to hit 2 miles as I thought!

Lastly, don’t underestimate your kiddos! Include them in your passions, help them set goals, and push themselves to the limits. One of my proudest moments was during the 2020 lockdowns. I started entering and completing virtual races completed with mailed participation medal. My kids were so excited for me so I signed them each up for a 1 mile virtual race, theme specifically selected for their interests. I ran along side them, handing them water often, but they both knocked it out of the park and were so proud of themselves. We have their medals on display and still talk about their accomplishment.

Matter, Meet, Mind

Balancing your Health Triangle

Health is the measure of our body’s efficiency and overall well-being. The health triangle is a measure of the different aspects of health and includes physical, social, and mental health. Created in 1997 as a project for an Alaska Middle School, the Health Triangle creators used an equilateral triangle to represent these aspects of health. Because all sides of this types of triangle are equal, it stresses the equal importance of each of these aspects. Devoting more attention to one particular side, while neglecting the others, can lead to health imbalances.

This blog is divided into the 3 sides of the health triangle and all posts will be categorized as such:

mind (mental health), 
matter (physical health) and
meet (social health).

Matter: Physical Health

  • Deals with the body’s ability to function
  • Includes exercise, nutrition, sleep, alcohol & drugs, and weight management
  • Proper balance results in more energy, maintaining a healthy weight, increased confidence & self esteem, and decreases risk of certain chronic diseases
colorful vegetables and salad

Mind: Mental Health

  • Deals with how we think, feel and cope with daily life.
  • Includes learning, stress management, and mental illnesses or disorders.
  • Proper balance increases self-confidence, awareness, and self perception. It also deals with the way our bodies and minds deal with life changes and decrease risk for anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses.

Meet: Social Health

  • Deals with the way react with people within our environment.
  • Includes public health, family relationships, and peer relationships.
  • Supportive, loving relationships help eliminate stress, increase happiness and self-esteem, and help celebrate accomplishments, promoting a safe environment.
friends laughing on a hike

Reflection:

The three components are dependent on one another. For example, someone who stays out late socializing might not be getting enough sleep. Someone strict about exercise might neglect other aspects of life in order to not miss a workout or a meticulous dieter may avoid going out to dinner because of their self-imposed rules.

It’s important to reflect on your own balance. Use the below Health Inventory tool as a means of evaluating and possibly changing your habits. Do you have excellent physical health, but inadequate social health? This can lead to loneliness, which might eventually compromise mental health. Consider joining a gym and fitness class to meet new workout buddies. Connect with a like-minded group on social media. Your support system can help you adhere to healthy habits.

Source: Virginia Department of Education

Now What?

Want to take it a step further? Think of 5 of your favorite activities (hobbies, interests) and then reflect on what impact each one has on each side of your health triangle, positive or negative. For example, yoga: builds core strength and flexibility (physical), relaxes and reduces stress (mental), and you meet friends there (social). Sounds great on all sides…so make that interest a priority in the coming month!

Let’s not beat ourselves up on where we’ve been or where we are on this journey. Let’s stop letting insecurities tell us who we ought to be and let our future shape us into who we were made to be. 

I encourage you to start your journey by setting goals, practicing behaviors that achieve those goals and getting support to do so, and reflecting on what helps or hinders you achieving personal wellbeing. You’re worthy…now let’s get healthy!

Sources:

https://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/health/healthsmartva/gr9/gr9-hp-19-health-triangle.pptx#:~:text=The%20health%20triangle%20is%20a,%2C%20Social%2C%20and%20Mental%20Health.

https://healthyliving.azcentral.com/the-health-triangle-mental-social-physical-definitons-12180709.html