I’m guilty of over-indulging during the festive period. And now it’s finally January, I really do need to engage in a rather healthier lifestyle. I’ve entered a half-ironman for June and if I’m not ready, it’s going to finish me off. I’m going on a sugar detox but like most parents, I struggle to find the time to fit in exercise. At the moment my husband is away, so popping out for a run in the evening isn’t an option. So I’ve come up with 10 family friendly ways to exercise.
1. Go walking as a family
The likelihood is the whole family have overindulged during the festive period. So why not get some fresh air and head for the hills? For us this means long walks with the dogs and the children, usually stopping at a pub or café for a drink half way. Let’s break ourselves into this fitness lark gently!
2. Go on holiday
I don’t know about you, but when we go on holiday it means fresh air, walks on the beach and running around. Perfect to kick start a healthy lifestyle. There are some great deals around at this time of the year too.
3. Leave the car at home and cycle
If your family are old enough, it can be a great idea to take your bikes on short journeys instead of driving. Cycling is a fun way to get active without feeling like you’re working out. Don’t forget safety equipment and bike locks if you’ll be leaving your bikes unattended.
4. Outdoor days out
Lots of days out for children are still open at this time of year. Check out local farm parks, countryside centres and theme parks. Some do close in January so make sure you check on their websites before you go. It may not seem like great exercise to just go out for the day, but if you’ve got a pedometer, see how many steps you take while you’re there. You might be surprised!
There’s always jobs to do in the garden and this is another way of getting fit without feeling like you’re working out. Winter is a good time to dig the areas you’ll be planting things in next year. Weed winter vegetable beds, prune plants and hedgerows and get started on any landscaping that needs doing in time for the spring.
Every Saturday morning at 9am all over the UK and now worldwide, people gather in parks to complete a 5k course. Some are seasoned park runners, others are first timers and some walk the whole course. Libby did her first Parkrun in September and children aged four and over are allowed to take part. You can even bring well-behaved dogs to some events!
7. Exercise videos
For me, an exercise video is a bit of a last resort. I bought one when I was pregnant with Lia though, and Libby and I did it together. If I can’t manage to fit in any other exercise while my husband is away, I may well resort to doing this in the evenings. It takes just 20 minutes and it is designed to work all the muscle groups.
8. A turbo trainer
I’m not one for exercising indoors if I can help it. I’d much rather run or cycle outdoors and even swimming is better in open water where possible. But to get out and do that, I’d need someone to look after the children and that’s not always possible.
So a few years ago, I picked up a second-hand turbo trainer from preloved. This is a similar site to eBay, but as it’s not quite so well known, things tend to be a bit cheaper. Cycling is my main challenge for this year, so I’ll be starting 2017 as I mean to go on with a 30 minute ride on the turbo trainer after the girls have gone to bed tonight.
With my triathlon to think about, I need to fit in running somehow. When the schools go back, I’ll be making use of the two mornings a week when Lia is either with family or at nursery and Libby is at school. But until then, they’ll have to come with me. We’ve got a sports field locally where we can play running games and the girls can ride their bikes. It’s not quite an ultramarathon, but it’s definitely better than nothing.
10. Rock climbing or bouldering
There are lots of climbing clubs in the UK and abroad that welcome new members. It’s a great way to try out the sport without having to invest in all the equipment straight away. If you don’t like heights, you can try bouldering instead. You go along the rocks horizontally a short distance from the ground instead of going upwards. Still great for both strength and fitness.
I never would have thought to take my children bouldering, but I got quite into it years ago and there were always young children at the bouldering wall. In an indoor climbing centre, it’s perfectly safe because there are enormous mats on the floor. It also seems like a sport that’s great to start from a young age – the children who used to go when I was there were incredible at it!
Please note, this post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small amount of commission if you make a purchase via such a link. However all views, opinions and exercise ideas are my own. Now all I need to do is get off the sofa and follow my own advice!