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Get on Their Level: 5 Playtime Exercises with Your Kids

Finding time to get a quality workout in is tough as a busy mom, but you don't have to choose between spending quality time with your kids playing or exercising. I’m a big believer that kids will remember mommy playing on the floor with them, playing pretend, and reading to them more than they will the cool toys you bought them, so I always make it a priority to spend face to face time doing kid directed activities. With everything else going on, sometimes a “formal” workout gets pushed aside. I may not go for a run, to the gym, or complete an exercise video, but on those days, I make sure to stay active and work my body in other ways. This is where the playtime exercise ideas come in! Here are some great ideas to keep you working your muscles while you bond with your babies. And these ideas aren’t about using your baby as resistance for your workout; that’s a great idea, but this is about joining THEIR playtime! So get on their level, and get moving!

  1. Storytime planks. You and the kids lay on the floor to read, but instead of just laying on your belly, hover over the book you are reading in an elbow plank position.
  2. Sidelying leg lifts. Laying on your side playing with whatever your kids like to play with, mine loves playing with his Green Toys farm set, while performing leg lifts in a variety of ways:
    • Hip abduction: lift your top leg while keeping your knee straight and your hip neutral and in line with your trunk
    • Hip adduction: plant the foot of your top leg behind your bottom knee, then lift your bottom leg with knee straight and hip in neutral, in line with trunk
    • Clamshell/hip external rotation: bend knees and hips until your hips and ankles are in line with your trunk. While keeping your ankles together, lift your top knee keeping your hips stacked- so don't let your trunk rotate back as your knee comes up
    • Reverse clamshell/hip internal rotation: get in the same position as above, but this time keep your knees together and lift your top ankle 
  3. Bridges: lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat, lift your hips up and let your kid race their car under your back before or even crawl under your tunnel before dropping back down. To add some resistance sit baby on your hips and lift up to give a horsey ride. 
  4. Animal play: you and your kiddos act like animals, or if they are super young, you do all the acting and tell them all kinds of fun facts while you do to keep their attention and teach them something. If your kiddo is old enough, they can pick the animals as you improv the movements, or they can tell you what sounds the make, what color they are, etc. Some animal exercises:
    • Frogs: low squats with a jump at the top
    • Starfish: jumping jacks
    • Flamingo: balance on one leg
    • Fish: lay on your belly and lift arms and leg up off the floor and pulse to swim
    • Bear: bear walk on hands and feet
    • Use your imagination!
  5. Chase! If your little one is on the move, crawl or run around with them! I have never meet a kid that doesn’t want to be chased or to follow mommy around. If they aren’t mobile yet, just get on all fours and do bird dogs or leg extensions over them while you talk, sing, or make faces.

Do you have any playtime exercise ideas?

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