Five ways to exercise as a family
As a busy working mum, I struggle to find the time to exercise. I’d like to be able to rise with the dawn and do a few laps of the park before the family wakes up, but as I’m often working until way past bedtime, I just can’t seem to find the extra energy!
But with losing a few pounds and generally feeling fitter a staple entry on most people’s list of New Year resolutions, it’s important to find a way to fit exercise into daily life.
So lately I’ve been adopting the attitude that if I can’t exercise without the family in tow, I will have to do it WITH them!
It’s been said that one reason why French women manage to keep their svelte figures is their ability to find the exercise in everyday tasks, such as pushing their children on the swings. Instead of seeing it as a chore, and putting in as little effort as possible before finding an excuse to escape back to the bench (as I used to do!), they embrace it as an opportunity to tone their arms and burn a few calories. So now, when you see me in the park, you’ll find me working up a sweat with a child in each swing instead of checking my email on the park bench!
Here are four of my other favourite ways to exercise as a family:
A family bike ride: even if you don’t have your own bikes, you can still give it a go – find your local bike hire company and call in advance to book whatever helmets and appendages you need, be it a trailer, baby seat, or tag-along for the toddler. If you like it, you can usually find second-hand bargains online or in the local paper.
Swimming: from sit-in floats for young babies to armbands and rubber rings for older children, your local leisure centre or even supermarket will probably stock everything you need for a safe and happy family swim. Once everyone is kitted out, it need only cost you a few pounds for the whole family to enjoy a morning of fun and exercise, and it’s a great way to work up an appetite before your Sunday lunch!
Park games: Frisbee, rounders, cricket, football. All you need is some makeshift equipment (jumpers for goalposts, anyone?) and some refreshments for afterwards, and you’re set for the afternoon!
Learning a new skill together: if your children are old enough, there’s nothing to stop you from signing up for a class together – horse-riding, dance classes, even circus skills! Many classes take people of all ages, so you can go together, get moving and have fun at the same time.
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