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Holiday kids-at-home workouts.

Wed, Dec 16, 2009

Exercise, Parenthood


I was surprised last weekend when I received a bunch of emails begging lovingly inquiring about tips for getting in the workouts with kids underfoot.

For some reason I’d erroneously assumed schools were out on Christmas eve, Christmas day & resumed Monday the 28th.

(Naive much? I know—but with no child in school yet its amazing how fast we forget…)

Since I’m always rollin’ with my homie the Tornado, it was a no-brainer to help my friends come up with a list of creative options for their soon-to-be disrupted workout routines.

(This list does NOT include utilizing a gym daycare facility. That is definitely a fab option but one, thanks to the economy, most of my friends don’t currently have at their disposal.)

Please to enjoy MizFit’s Magnificent List Of Workout Options For The Holiday Time When There’s A Crapload Of Family Underfoot.

(AKA: M.M.L.O.W.O.F.T.H.T. W. T. A. C.O. F.U.)

  • Get up at the crack of dawn and MOVE. This is what Ive chosen to do and, while not my fave thing initially, it works for me.  Im a more patient mama when Ive had my time to destress.  Remind yourself that this isnt forever and that you can do ANYTHING for a week or so. Dont have any exercise equipment? Pick up an inexpensive exercise band.  Check out ON DEMAND exercise programs on television. Rent exercise DVDs so you know what you like *before* you buy (if you ever decide to buy!).
  • Involve your kids: Another no-brainer yet one we mamas seem to not do frequently enough.  How do you raise kids who like to exercise? You show them that working, errr, PLAYing out can be fun! Are you a weight training mama?  Hand your littletlittles rolled up socks and let them train along side you!  Are your kids more toward the tween years? Try incorporating body weight routines and have them push up or lunge right with you!  You may find that your workouts take longer (”running” with a 5 year old might necessitate frequent stops & starts) but you WILL FIND they are more enjoyable.
  • Incorporate the silly: Nothing works the core better than a GOOD, HARD belly laugh.  Skip the traditional workout all together in favor of some LOUD MUSIC & a good old fashioned dance party!  Make up silly yoga poses which mimic the appearance of different zoo animals! How long has it been since you’ve played leapfrog? Jumped rope? Heck, even a vigorous game of freeze tag, dodge ball, hopscotch or duck, duck, goose! can get the heart rate up when done with childlike glee.  Create an obstacle course in your home and, perhaps, time each other to see who can complete it the fastest.  Think outside the box.  Think like the very child(ren) you’re trying to amuse’ertain.
  • Make every movement count: Once upon a time MizFit took four months off from working out.  Once upon that time she really didn’t notice that much of a change in her body composition or strength.  What kept me kindasorta in shape? Two thingsI didnt take the break from working out as a ‘reason’ to toss in the clean eating towel (important to remember!) and I made the most of every opportunity to squeeze in some N.E.A.T. Accidentally (wink) forget something upstairs when you are down & take that stairclimb to squeeze the glutes and SQUEEZE in a bit of cardio.  View your entire day through the lens of: how might I use this time to burn a few extra calories (and some stress!) off?


That’s what Ive got people & typically what I do during my days with the Tornado happily underfoot.

and you?

Have any tips for getting the works in at home with the in-laws, visiting family, & children throwing off the exercise routine?

Please to hit us all up in the comments.

MizFit OUT.


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45 Responses to “Holiday kids-at-home workouts.”

  1. moonduster (Becky) says:

    My 3 year old grabs a stool I have handy and does my Wii Fit workouts with me. He even grabs the tiny little one-pound handweights that I never use, so he can mimic my lifts. :)

    And sometimes, if I’m exercising while the one year old baby’s awake, I sing to him and make silly faces at him during the workout to keep[ him happy. I try to use his naptime though.

    When he was smaller, I’d hold him while I used the stepper. It gave me a more intense workout and usually lulled him to sleep.

    If all else fails, I wait until my husband gets home and charge him with keeping the kids occupied while I exercise.

  2. Hanlie says:

    I can’t think of anyone more qualified than you to answer this question… When I have a child, I might actually come over for lessons!

  3. Cindie says:

    If you live in the North like me, you can get outside in the snow. Even though my kids are older (4 teenagers and an 11 year old) they can’t wait for winter vacation so they can get out in the snow! We have a HUGE sledding hill just around the corner from our house. It’s hard work going up that hill again and again. Add a few younger neighbor kids who you have to pull on the sled and you have a major workout!

  4. Kim says:

    Ok now I wanna rent a child so I can lunge around with her on my back.

    Best.Workout.Ever. I would imagine.



  5. Nan says:

    I know you were joking a little bit but if I actually PLAYED with my twins every time they asked me to “chase them” I really would burn a ton of extra calories.

    Thanks for the post.

  6. Certifiably Fit says:

    Great tips. I personally don’t have kids (although there is a plan to start in the future) but it is good to see that you can get your physical activity in even with kids in tow.

    I bet your daughter loves the time she gets to “playout” with you and what a great example for her.

  7. Izzy says:

    First time commenter long time reader :)

    I just wanted to say that these tips are perfect for going home to visit my own parents (Im in college).

    Not just for moms!!!

  8. Yum Yucky says:

    I was doing biceps curls with the laughing-chucking 22-pound baby as my curl bar just yesterday. See that. We both got benefits.

    She laughs, I get ripped.

  9. Natalia Burleson says:

    I love the loud music and dancing option! My son has a set of electric drums and we take turns playing and dancing!

    Instead of renting exercise dvd’s from video store or netflix, check out your local library. I have put several Jillian Michaels dvd’s on hold, and enjoyed them for FREE for two weeks(a good way to preview one before you buy it)! My son will sometimes join me while I do those.


  10. Jessica says:

    Such great tips - especially getting up early and MOVE!

  11. Tammy says:

    I needed that NEAT video this morning.


    xo xo

  12. Marisa (Loser for Life) says:

    Awesome tips! Exercising with kids around is hard! For those times when everyone is around, we use the Wii. It’s a surprisingly good workout (especially the boxing!) and everyone has a good time:)

  13. Rebecca Regnier says:

    Um cute - just cute. Imagine how toned I’d be if I carryed an 18 year old around like that!

  14. Trish @IamSucceeding says:

    THIS is awesome!!!

  15. Amy H. says:

    We time each other, as in, “go upstairs to get your socks and I’ll count how many seconds it takes.” Also, we run laps around the house (their idea, not mine). And obstacle courses are a big hit, especially as it involves moving furniture around. Balancing on one foot was never so cool as it is in my house.

  16. debby says:

    Ouch. That lunge with the Tornado on your back is seriously impressive!

  17. Karen says:

    You are my fitness guidence counselor.

    Print this.

    Needed this.

  18. Katie says:

    I love those pictures! So cute! I have a stationary bike and row machine (and will be adding a treadmill soon as well). I do most of my exercising with my toddler playing nearby. I bring lots of toys and books. Sometimes I have to stop to help her with something, but generally she’s pretty good. I also give her lots of praise when I’m finished, and then try to do something afterward that she would like to do.

  19. MizFit says:

    thats totally how it is here, too, katie.
    the workouts can take longer with all the STOP AND PLAY moments—but they get done.

    AND all studies indicate for our kind of fitness (read: not competition prep) starts and stops are ok!

  20. Kristen @ Change of Pace says:

    I’m a stay at home mom to a 1 year old. It may sound funny but when I can’t go to the gym I try to focus on one section of my body for the day.

    So if I focus on legs and abs then I do squats while I dry my hair. Then I’ll do lunges while I put away dishes.

    I may not be getting my hour or so consistant work out but at least I’m working out that day.

    Thanks for all the great tips!

  21. Lori says:

    When I lived in Canada we took the kids skating every Christmas day. It got them out of the house and moving. The grandparents didn’t skate, but we were lucky enough to live close enough to a park with a rink that we could all walk there. Now, living in Texas, we are able to go for a bike ride. The other year my kids received rollerblades for Christmas so my mom and i walked to the park and they rollerbladed. A nice walk is always a good option too.
    Thankfully when my mom comes to visit she does not expect me to give up my exercise - she knows how important it is to me. She joined Curves and every time she comes to visit I take her for her workouts too!

  22. POD says:

    Great tips. I’m going to try them with my cat.
    I remember my own mother trying to encourage us to get outside during the holiday season. She’d start screaming at the top of her lungs, “GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE AND DON’T COME BACK UNTIL DARK!” Sometimes she’d lovingly encourage us harder with a broom sweep or chase us out the door with the running vacuum.

    Love the holidays!

  23. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    Love this! Opportunities for exercise are everywhere! Calf raises while washing dishes, lunges while vacuuming, running from the car to the store-it’s all a function of being open to it.

    And then, like you said, you *can* always just turn up the music and dance for the fun of it! :)

  24. Nikki says:

    Great ideas! If my 14 year old son allowd me to do half this stuff, I’d look like the bionic women - hee, hee, hee! He actually picks me up at this stage in the game.

    I should be happy to have my peeps (hubby/son) home for the holidays but I sure miss having the house all to myself while they’re at school/work! 2 weeks is a long, loonng time!!

    Have a great day
    Cheers from Canada

  25. Sagan says:

    Can I insert “boyfriend” or “roommate” where you had the word “kids”?


    My favourite way to work around/with family and exercise is to make exercise a part of the holiday experience: go for a walk to look at the pretty decorations, go skating or skiing to get in the festive mood etc. It doesn’t feel much like WORK when you’re all having fun together!

  26. tj says:

    Now I just need a kid! lol :) Great post with great ideas! :) Your lil girl is so cute! :)

  27. MizFit says:

    Can I insert “boyfriend” or “roommate” where you had the word “kids”?

    YES!!! and many days that works better. if by BETTER you mean with less crying involved—which I do :)

  28. Crabby McSlacker says:

    Great timing-no kids underfoot, but we’ve got rain pouring from the heavens and I need to get creative today in finding an indoor workout. Lots of great tips here!

  29. Cindy says:

    OH I LOVE THIS…and my now INSIDE evening play time (that always includes Mama exercise time) is fun for both of us…

    my 20 MO gets out the yoga mat while I go change and he lets me know it’s time to “xsice”

    so cute

    he can do down dogs on command and I set up little things for him to do (lately it’s stepping up and down off the “step” I up the height on it every now and then to challenge him…we have stairs so giving him coordination there makes me feel better)

    I am a total believer in leading by example.

    I will say this though..I was finishing some yoga last night , eyes closed and he dropped his magic doodle board on my nose!


    so if you do yoga with your toddler and need those few minutes of eye closing relaxation….wear a face guard!

    great post Miz! as always!

    we can always use more tips on keeping fit…( I use cleaning and cooking too to up my calorie burning efforts)


  30. Joanna Sutter says:

    I love a good playground workout…monkey bars are great for monkeying around with pull ups and chins. And swings are great for suspension training….Bulgarian split squats, feet elevated push ups, yadda, yadda, yadda!

  31. Marste says:

    Oooo. Good stuff. I’m totally stealing some of these.

    My neighbor has a 4-year-old. I bet I could borrow her. ;)

  32. Ann says:

    When family are visiting I just insist on making time for myself to go to the gym, even if only for 20 minutes. It keeps me in a much better mood during the stress of intense family time! I do not know what I will do visiting my husband’s family this week though (leaving today!) - none of them workout and they don’t even live in a neighborhood that is very good for walking. I’m still trying to come up with some solutions, and playing freeze tag with my nieces and nephews just might work!!

  33. vickie says:

    okay, I am very strong and my form is as good as yours - but can’t imagine doing lunges with a human backpack. were those walking or stationary (please tell me stationary - I am a real whimp if they were walking).

  34. MizFit says:

    STATIONARY in a big bad way.

    up and down like an elevator.

    myriad reasons (*cough* strength *cough*) including a huge fear of blowing out my knees :)

  35. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    OK, love the lunge weight!!!! Well, I don’t have kids but it does get busier this time of year. You gave great ideas & for me, it is always about getting it in early.. well, for me, it is at hours people would not even think about getting up! :-) BUT, it works for me! I do take the stairs in my house 2 at a time every time I go up them & I concentrate on sitting up & holding the core tight when on the computer! I also do stuff when I am watching a show or the news…. why not! You can include others too!

  36. Destination Athlete says:

    I am one of those lucky people who have childcare at my gym…that being said though, I’m not always lucky enough to go when they’re open.

    I’ll do ab exercises and my 2 year old will “help” me by pushing me down. LOL I’ll also do ab twists, making silly faces each time I turn to face her. If I do leg lowering ones, she’ll go underneath me and I’ll “tap” her every time I come down. I haven’t tried to do lunges or anything like that, but when I do pushups she likes to try and push me down or sit on top of me as well.

    Really, I’m just a human jungle gym to her. :)

  37. sassy stephanie says:

    We have a concrete sidewalk loop around our local park. My kiddos love to take bikes and scooters and get some good laps in. And, don’t forget…pushing the kiddos on swings = great tri/bi workout!

  38. Quix says:

    I have not yet made the decision whether I want kids or not, but if I *do* have kids, I am looking forward to being a part of their active life. Chasing them around and playing tag or dodgeball or playing hide and seek or helping them discover a love of running (or not, or another sport or activity) sounds like a BLAST. I think I’d be more inclined to have kids if we could skip that whole pregnancy and early part and get to a place where we could play together. :)

    My mom kept me active by sending me to tons of classes, so she saw it’s importance, but I don’t remember ever running around the yard with her. Or rollerskating with her. She was a supporter and would always be there for me, but it was watching. She was always too focused on fitness as work. She still is. I wasn’t all about that so I’d do my diving/gymnastics/skating/biking/whatever and have fun and she’d do the gym off and on and get bored with it and yoyo. I’ve tried to help her try to figure out something fun to do with goals but it doesn’t seem to gel with the way her brain is wired.

  39. Diane Fit to the Finish says:

    Great idea! One of the best things about losing my weight was my increased ability to be about to INTERACT with my kids without feeling like I was going to keel over from exhaustion.

  40. Runeatrepeat says:

    Totally agree with getting up early :) It’s worth it!

  41. Pubsgal says:

    Ooo, great post as usual, Miz! (Been short on the commenting time lately, but I still read every day!) And so timely-I’ll have to have my 5-year-old personal trainer put me through my paces tonight, since I did errands instead of my gym class today.

    On a kinda-sorta related note, I’ve found that taking fitness mini-breaks helps my son during his homework session. We do a few minutes of exercise (running laps around the living room, doing some jumping jacks, boxer’s shuffle, and the like), then go back to the homework.

    Oh, and ditto Diane (#41)!

  42. Ann says:

    Great tips! Great blog! Thanks!

  43. Kim says:

    Just had to compliment your beautiful strength and your daughter’s beautiful strength! What an inspiring duo you two make!!


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