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Exercising Values

Happy, Healthy, Kind, & Considerate Kids

Workouts Parents Can Do with their Children for Fun and Weight Loss

build muscle children education exercise fat loss fitness fun goals habits inspiration personal training selfcare sports time management weight loss Apr 05, 2011

It’s surprisingly simple to make progress on some of the goals young mothers have: losing weight, getting more energy, spending quality time with the kids, eating healthier as a family and fighting signs of aging. It’s getting started that can be such a challenge.

A train that isn’t moving can be held in place with a one inch slice of concrete. Once moving, that same train can blast through a ten foot wall of concrete. Similarly, when you have been sedentary for sometime, the smallest excuse will derail your attempts to become active. But once you make exercise and healthy eating a way of life, almost nothing can halt your progress, at least not for very long. You’ll quickly return to your healthy life style after any unavoidable interruption. You’ll become wired to find your way around obstacles. You’ll be like superman-more powerful than a locomotive.

This week we’re driving to Texas for my son’s Regional Gymnastics Championship and last week I was the athlete heading to Alabama for Long Course Duathlon Nationals. Road trip! Last week, we left a winter like midwest to experience a spring like south but today Texas feels more like summer. Wake-up call! It’s clear that it is suddenly time to access the effects of a long winter on fitness goals and to rev up for spring training. It’s time to plant a garden and clean up eating habits. Let’s get this train moving!

To help you take those first steps toward reaching your goals here’s a workout that you can do with your young children. Your children can easily follow you through these movements that use body weight rather than hand held weights. You can get in a maximal fat-burning workout while including them in the process. They will have fun with you and will be developing athletic skills as well as keeping themselves lean and healthy.

The greatest predictor of whether someone will stick with a fitness program is past success. Start early to create experiences of athletic success for your children. Youth sports are a great way to do this but they are not the only way or necessarily the best way for your family. Staying active as a family can replace or supplement youth teams.

This is a fun, fast fat burning workout to jump start your spring training. You’ll quickly lose the last of those winter pounds and be ready for the beach and swimming pool. But more importantly, you will have created a fun memory for your children that reinforces your message to them that health and fitness is important and that it is a priority in your schedule as are they. Enjoy!

The Workout

WARM-UP

The warm-up gently prepares the body for the more intense work to come. Your heart rate, respiration and blood pressure will rise and your joints will become lubricated. You will literally feel warmer, perhaps breaking a sweat. Your muscles will become more supple reducing the potential for injury. Despite the importance of a warm-up, it does not need to be a long one. Practice the movements that will make up the actual workout just do them at a low intensity in the beginning and slowly build up. 

Be sure to have water available before,during and after the workout. Not only will this increase performance, it will also aid in releasing growth hormone which will help you recover faster and even stay younger looking. On the other hand, dehydration is aging and will trigger a fat storing stress response. Spread your water consumption throughout the day by providing BPA free plastic water bottles for everyone in the family. We consume a lot of worthless calories when we let ourselves get very thirsty. Before you even feel thirst, you are already dehydrated; so drink a cup or so every hour.

The following is an example of a good way to start a workout with your children. 

Begin with a march but keep your feet close to the floor and your arms by your side. Next advance to a regular march and move your arms as well. Finally do an exaggerated march with your arms swinging high into the air. Now do all three again but this time add a little bounce to your movements.

Now we’re going to reach for the moon so put one foot in front of the other and rock back and forth like you were a rocking horse. As you rock forward reach for the sky with both hands and then pull back your prize by bringing both elbows in and back. Change which foot is in front and repeat.

Lawnmowers are next. We╩╝ll mimic the movements involved in starting one. Stand with your feet apart in a straddle. Now bend and reach to one side by the floor and past your foot. Pull back and up like you were starting a lawn mower. Repeat a few times and then change sides and do it all again.

READY TO START

Our first exercise is called mountain climbers. Begin with your hands and feet on the floor like you are about to do a push-up. Now bend one knee and bring that foot forward. With a jumping motion we’ll change which leg is bent in front and which one is straightened out behind. Keep switching legs up to one minute or until you are tired. Then return to your starting position.

Next are push-ups and if you can do them from your hands and feet that’s great.  Another choice would be to drop to your knees. If you prefer you can stand up and lean into a wall and do your push-ups that way, Someday you may want to place your feet up on a chair to make your push-up harder. Go down slowly while you count to four then explode up like a kernel of popcorn popping. In about one minute or when you get tired you are ready to move on.

Now we want you on your side with your legs extended and your feet stacked one on top of the other. You can choose to support yourself on your forearm or you can raise up onto your hand with your arm straight but not locked out. Hold this side plank about 30 seconds or until you get tired and then switch sides and repeat.

You only have one more exercise to go! Remember the marching we did during our warm-up? Now we are going to perform a lunge by take a giant step forward. You’ll want to lift your leg high just like you did in the exaggerated march. Then step as far forward as you can; bending your knee as you finish. Lower your body slowly and then spring back to your standing position. Change legs and do it again. One time on each leg may do it but you can keep switching legs until you are tired.

If time permits and you and your family want to, you may repeat this series one, two or even three more times. Your children can easily follow you through these movements that use body weight rather than hand held weights. You can get in a maximal fat-burning workout while including them in the process. They will have fun with you and will be developing athletic skills as well as keeping themselves lean and healthy.

COOL-DOWN

To cool down, repeat just the first part of the warm-up without the bouncing movements. Next go through one or two more “stretches to the moon” and one or two more “lawn mowers”.  Drink a little water and pat each other on the back.

Make workouts like this a routine and you’ll reach your goals “faster than a speeding bullet.” My book Exercising Values is a great resource for more motivation and full workouts to help you along the way.

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About the Author

Pamela Davenport

MSW, CPT, PES, CES, FNS, YES, SFS ACE

For decades I have helped countless parents and their children overcome significant obstacles. My unique accomplishments in the fields of child development, health, and fitness have given me an unparalleled perspective and expertise that I would love to share with you.

  • Award-Winning Author and Parenting Coach
  • Mother of six and grandmother of five
  • Studied Juvenile Justice at Stanford University
  • Master’s degree in Social Work
  • Experienced family counselor
  • Support group leader for struggling parents
  • Taught health at the university level
  • Program manager for the personal training programs at two colleges
  • Personal Trainer helping people lose 5lb-100lb+
  • Two-time Ironman Triathlete and competing member of team USA
  •  UMB Lifetime Sportswoman Award 2017