I can count the number of times I have exercised at a gym on one hand. They were mostly to support a sister who teaches fitness classes. I never really enjoyed the gym environment. Sure, they have some equipment that I don't have at home, but I don't like to be social when I exercise.
For me, exercise is one of the few times I have the opportunity to focus on something for myself. Having to get dressed in appropriate exercise clothes, interact with strangers, drive to another location and have others potentially judging my methods sounds like a whole lot of work.
I would much rather exercise at home, and so I have for over a decade! Here are a few tips that have helped me to stay fit while avoiding the whole gym atmosphere!
Tips For How to Exercise At Home With Little Kids
Exercise first thing
I always try to exercise within 1-2 hours after I wake up. Not only do I have the most energy then, but my day hasn't run away from me. It's nice to think that I'll get a chance to do something that I like to do, just for me, before the rest of my tasks and responsibilities completely overrun me.
Get the kids situated first
Depending on the ages of your kids, this might look different. I typically set up a few little toys or activities for my smallest kids and then let the older ones know that I will be exercising for the next 30-45 minutes. I also make sure everyone has been fed and clothed before I start my exercise. I really don't like to be interrupted if it can be avoided. Over time my kids have learned that my time set aside for exercise is part of the morning routine.
Have a zone for exercise gear
Basically I do everything in my power to set myself up for success. I keep my weights, bands, and videos right near my tv so that I have everything I need before I start. I also get a large glass of water and keep it handy. I have spent enough wasted minutes running around to try and find this or that and by the time I get to the workout my hearts not into it. When everything is there and ready to go, my time and focus can be spent on exercising!
Let the kids join in
This is especially helpful for the kids who want to be underfoot. Sometimes they don't want to be entertained by toys or books or each other. They want to do what I am doing. So, I will encourage them to join in and to try some of the moves. I have found that if I give them attention for a few moments (as I'm exercising) they are often satisfied and will wander off to play while I finish.
Incorprorate exercise into play
My kids really started to get interested in yoga and a lot of the videos I was doing didn't work for them. After a little bit of research I found a Youtube channel called Cosmic Kids (which is on my list of Youtube channels that encourage active kids). The yoga instructor tells fun stories while showing kids yoga moves. Sometimes I turn that on for the kids and do my own stretches alongside them! Sometimes we turn on music and make it a dance party.
Make fitness goals
I exercise for so many reasons. I have never had to lose a lot of weight (except after having a baby) so weight loss was never my motivation. I have, however, had different fitness goals in mind at different phases of my life. At times I have used exercise to manage back pain, to gain strength, to manage stress and anxiety, to boost my confidence, and even just to do a little something for myself. As a momma, I understand the importance of all the benefits that come from taking care of myself.
Go for walks
This is a simple tip, but not to be underestimated. My kids love to be outside! They also love to have a change of scene. Some days I will do a short workout in the morning and then take them for a walk in the afternoon. I especially love walking in the spring and the fall because the temperatures are so great, but really my kids love walks any time.
Fit it in where you can
If all else fails and you didn't get a chance to exercise in the morning (or you really just don't like to) find a way to fit it in. There have been times when I've had to get creative with my fitness schedule. Sometimes I will watch a show at night and just walk/jog around the room while I watch. Or, I will park my car farther away and take stairs if they are an option. If I have a few minutes to myself I might do some yoga stretches.
Find what works for you
Ultimately the best tip is to find something that works for you! Everyone has different circumstances, schedules, goals, and interests. The important thing is to make yourself a priority and figure out how to do that.
I know that it's been a blessing for me to have that little bit of time each morning to spend on myself. It allows me to go through the day feeling like I have something to give back to others. I hope that these tips spark some ideas that will inspire you to try an exercise at home routine if you are like me and dread the idea of going to a gym.
Please feel free to share any ideas that you use in your exercise routine and how you make it work with kids!