Park play: how to lose weight while hanging with your kids
If you want to drop the pounds, you have to up the exercise. It’s that simple. Sure, you can eat less and consume healthier foods, but developing an exercise plan that includes elevating your heart rate is an important change you’ll want to make if losing weight in on your mind.
I understand that any kind of a change is a tall order for scheduled moms who are just trying to survive from one snotty-nose wipe to the next. But if the only change you’ve been doing lately is that of a diaper, I promise this change is going to do your body – and your mind – some good.
Here it goes: devise a plan to work out while hanging with your kid. It’s entirely possible to do so, and here are some options that’ll get your body moving and your playtime groovin.’
Infant and baby:
Head to the park, put your baby on your lap and sit on a swing. Pump your legs for at least a 10- to 20-minute ride. This works your thighs, joints and ligaments. For this next part, you’ll want to bring along a mommy friend so the two of you can switch off holding each other’s babies. Sit on the swing and bend your knees into your chest. Repeat for as many times as you can, and soon you’ll start to feel the burn in your abdomen.
You can also try leaning back on the swing and extending your legs straight in front of you. Draw them up as high as you can, and try and touch your face. Burn, baby burn!
Toddler and preschooler:
Nothing says workout like a good chase in the park. You know how your child begs you to get her “just ooooooone more time?” Well, for the sake of your tush, oblige that kid. Keep the game going for 20 minutes or longer, and you’ll start to feel the effects of an elevated heart rate. The key here is to ditch the short spurts and make this game of tag a consistent run for you. Another option is hula hooping, which works your abs and thighs, strengthens your core, raises your heart rate and is said to improve your flexibility. You can burn approximately 210 calories per 30-minute session, according to a study conducted by a team from the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin.
Hit the pool when the weather warms up. Aside from tossing younger elementary school children in the air (hello strength training), you can get a competitive race in with your older kids that’ll result in a sculpted back and toned arms. Plus, you’ll burn a ton of calories. Just one hour of moderate swimming can have you burning up to 500 calories! Your body is sure to make a splash at the end of summer with all the kicking, pulling and arm strokes you put in.
And, you know all the waiting around you do while your kids are at soccer practice? Instead of chit-chatting with the moms, get up and move! Take a walk around the field, bring a few weights, practice yoga – there are many exercise activities you can do while still keeping an eye on the practice.
Junior high and high school:
Your moody teen won’t talk to you much during the week but, come Saturday afternoon, he’s likely to make an exception (especially if Jamba Juice is part of the package). The tween and teen stage is the perfect age to get in a decent bike ride together, for example.
Mountain biking, in particular, is a full-body workout, albeit it’s mostly your lower body that benefits: quadriceps, hamstrings and other smaller muscles in the legs get the best workout. Pushing the pedal gives your abdomen a workout, while improving your balance and coordination. In addition, the deltoid muscles on your shoulders get worked from bending forward, as do your biceps.
Another great way to engage with your teen while working out is visiting a nearby track (ahem, her high school) and walk, jog or run laps together. (Plus, you never know what she’ll open up about when those endorphins kick in!) When running, you’ll get a solid cardiovascular workout and your glutes will reap the rewards. A recent study found that you’ve hit a sweet spot if you can run up to 2.5 hours a week. That’s totally do-able!
Now, if your kids prefer inside play, you can still get your workout in. I don’t know a kid around who says no to video games. Pop in DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) on the PlayStation or Just Dance 2016 on the Wii. Break out those dance moves and break a sweat. Nothing says workout like “Burn” by Ellie Goulding.
So get to it. Treat some of your playtime as workout time, and you’ll be sure to see a change in your waistline and your mood.