When it comes to working out, sometimes it is hard to find that motivation. Add a kid or small army and daily life becomes a workout all its own.

Now that school’s out and the kids are bursting with limitless energy, my fellow pre/postnatal group fitness instructor Ariel Croffut and I have teamed up to share exercise ideas for you and your entire family. Whether you’re a new mom, the mother of an active tot, or you’re trying to fit in a workout while including older kids, read on for some great ideas!

Mommy & Baby

Use your baby as your resistance! There are so many moves you can include your baby in, and if your baby isn’t ready to hold his or her neck up, you can use a baby carrier. In fact, we love baby carriers! They free up your hands, and they’re a number of low impact and upright moves you can try. Here are a few moves you can try without a carrier.

  1. Hip bridge — Sitting baby on your hips adds resistance for you, and a little ride for him/her. This move is especially great for the pelvic floor, booty, and lower abs.
  2. Push-ups — coming down to give baby a peck on the nose is a great way to engage with them, and all those smiles and giggles will keep you going as you strengthen your back shoulders and arms!
  3. Wall sit — Another great pelvic floor move! Glutes, quads, and hamstrings are other muscle groups this move works. This can be done with or without your baby carrier, and if you’re choosing to hold baby, you can even add them in for a little arm resistance by holding them out and bringing them back in for a squeeze. You can also try raising them overhead and bring them back at eye level for a quick peck or peek-a-boo.

Mommy & Tots

Tots are fun because they’re on the move, and this means so are you! This is the perfect age to start including them in workouts and teaching them about fitness. They like to run, crawl, climb and copy everything Mommy does. Let Mommy be the playground, and keep it at you child’s level!

  1. Plank to down dog — Holding a plank is like the gold star of core exercises. Make it fun by letting your little tot crawl around and under you as you raise that booty up into down dog can keep this move more interesting and engaging for the two of you (this is a great time to sing the song London Bridge is falling down).
  2. Bear Crawl — What kid doesn’t like a game of tag? Playing chase and pretending to be bears is the perfect silly cardio to keep your heart rate up and engage the entire body.
  3. Piggyback squats — Let your kid be boss for a minute or two by letting them decide when mom goes down for a squat, and if you’re looking for more, let them decide when you come up out of a chair pose lets them play with mommy while you get the pelvic floor, booty, and leg work you’re looking for.

Kids or Family

Kids are excited fireballs of energy. Let’s give them a positive outlet for all that energy!  Hopefully these workouts will help keep the peace in your house this summer and keep and the words “I’m bored” to a minimum. Here are a few ideas for the kids or entire family to do.

  1. Freeze tag — The original HIIT workout! While ‘frozen’ hold a squat. While free they can skip, run, or hop around.
  2. Leapfrog — If your kids are big enough they can jump over one another, or if they’re too small they can just frog jump to the front of the line. Mix it up by letting them add their own moves like walking lunges, inchworms, bear walk, or crab walk giving them a creative outlet.
  3. Obstacle course — you can use anything in your house from chairs to broomsticks. Have them climb under, jump over, crawl, and bounce. Throwing in an educational puzzle or math challenge can make an obstacle course more competitive for the older ones.
  4. Nature Bingo — as you venture on your family hikes or bike rides or an evening stroll, put together a look for list or scavenger hunt. There are free templets online that can make a bingo chart from your list. You can make them age-appropriate, and whoever gets bingo first gets to pick the next destination and make the next list.

Keep them busy and keep them engaged. Your workouts will be fun, and your kids are learning to be active and healthy. Learning through play is the best way to teach!

It would be irresponsible of us as fitness instructors to not talk about safety and form, so here are a few helpful tips to prevent injuries.  When we think about our form during exercise you should think of your body as a line. For example, when doing a plank, keep shoulders over elbows over wrists. Hips in-line with knees and ankles, and when we bend at the knee or hips try to think of a box. Keep that knee behind your toe and at a 90-degree angle.  Warm-ups before and stretching after is highly recommended. Always check your surroundings for potential dangers. Make sure everyone is getting enough water, especially if you choose to exercise outside in the heat. If you are newly post-partum, make sure you are cleared through your doctor or midwife. This is also a good time to ask and get checked for diastasis recti. If you’re a nursing mother, make sure you drink plenty of water as dehydration can affect milk supply. Adding in an extra 300-500 calorie snack if you are engaging in high-intensity exercise is also recommended to keep milk supply up.

Wenatchee Family Fitness is always here to support and answer any questions about your pre and postnatal fitness. Classes are held at 9:30 a.m. Monday-Friday at Walla Walla Point Park. Check out our Facebook page for more details.