With many parents working from home and home schooling their children, an hourlong escape to the gym, even a home gym, is a luxury. If you’re finding it hard to make time for your workout, try including your kids.
“It’s important for your kids, no matter their age, to see you make movement a priority,” says
owner of Deep Relief Peak Performance Athletic Training Center in Haiku, Hawaii, on the island of Maui. “It could be as simple as a family walk before or after dinner.”
Ms. Campbell says she found it easier to carve out time for workouts when her daughter,
was younger. “I could place her in one spot while I worked out or hold her and do lunges or squats,” she says. “Now that she is 2 ½ years old, she can walk and talk and has her own ideas of what she wants to do.”
Rather than ditch her workout, Ms. Campbell creates ways to involve her daughter, and husband,
which might be as simple as having her daughter call out the color of the cup Ms. Campbell and Mr. Turpin will perform a toe tap on.
With older children, Ms. Campbell suggests turning exercise into play. She often gamifies workouts for her training programs specifically designed for kids ages 5 to 13. “The more competitive you make an activity, the more excited kids are to do it,” she says. And both adults and kids tend to stick with workouts that feel fun. Here, Ms. Campbell shares six ideas for exercises that will challenge your core strength, reaction time, agility and cardio while getting the whole family involved.
Burpee Tic-Tac-Toe (Ages 8 to adult)
Set up a large tic-tac-toe grid on one side of a room using masking tape, rolled up towels or belts to create lines. You can also do this in a driveway or parking lot using chalk to draw a board. Place different colored cups or bowls for Xs and Os on the other side of the room.
Each person has to complete one to 10 burpees (you can have younger participants do fewer burpees or burpees minus the push-ups), pick up a cup or bowl, then run across the room to place your mark on the board. To perform a burpee, squat and place your hands on the floor, jump your feet back and perform a push-up, jump forward, then jump up to stand and repeat.
To modify, skip the push-up and jump back to plank. If you don’t have space to run between the marks and boards, replace the run with a high-knee jog around the perimeter of the board. The losing team will have to complete an extra set of burpees. Mix it up with different exercises, such as jumping jacks or squats. You can compete one-on-one or with teams.
Plank Ball Roll (Ages 8 to adult)
Start in a plank position, hands under shoulders, feet shoulder-width apart or wider for more stability. If there are two people, face each other. The farther apart you are, the more challenging the exercise. If there are more than two people, form a circle.
Roll a ball from person to person maintaining proper form. Don’t let your hips sink or hike up to the ceiling. Try to maintain a straight line from head to toe. You can use a ball of any size.
A smaller ball, like a tennis ball, will be more difficult to stop. If someone misses a ball, you can implement a five push-up penalty. Perform for time or until fatigued.
Ball Drop Pop-Up (Ages 8 to adult)
One person will lay prone on the floor looking down. Place the hands by the shoulders and lift the hands off the ground. This is the starting position. The second person will stand 2 to 3 feet away and bounce a ball.
The person lying down has to pop up to their feet when the ball hits the ground and attempt to catch the ball after the first bounce. To challenge the brain, bounce two balls of different colors or sizes and yell out which one your partner has to catch.
One-Leg Balance Toe Taps (Ages 2 to adult)
Place four different colored cups or bowls, bottoms facing up, in a line 6 inches apart. One person will be on each side of the line, standing just beyond arm’s distance away from the objects.
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Choose a foot to balance on and take turns calling out a color. Try to tap that color mark with your foot without losing your balance. The first person to tap wins. Keep score and play to 10 points, then switch sides. You can also have a third person call out the colors.
For an advanced variation, play the same game, but each person will be in a forearm plank on either side of the line and must tap the mark with their hand while trying to maintain their balance.
Dead Bug Pillow Toss (Ages 5 to adult)
Lie on your back. Lift your legs, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Raise your arms toward the ceiling with your wrists above your shoulders. Your lower back should be flat against the floor. Place a pillow on your shins. Slightly lower the shins and bring them back up to toss the pillow to your arms, then bring your arms overhead and toss the pillow back to your shins. Don’t let your back come off the ground.
For an added challenge, touch the pillow to the ground behind your head before throwing it back. If you have a partner, lay head to head on the floor and throw the pillow back and forth to each other, using your shins. Or you can lay with your feet in the middle, bent at 90 degrees, and throw the pillow with your arms, allowing the shoulder blades to come off the ground like a crunch.
Loop Band Hopscotch (Ages 2-5 without band, 5 to adult with band)
Draw a hopscotch pattern on your floor using masking tape or in your driveway or street using chalk. Place a resistance band just above your knees. Pushing out against the band helps build strength in the hip abductor muscles, creating stability for the knees, Ms. Campbell says.
If you don’t have a resistance band, you can use a pair of nylons. Jump in and out of the squares going forward and back. Make sure to keep your feet pointed straight ahead.
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