Work Out With Your Kids

Dad and son workout

Warming up and stretching before the workout. Getting ready to throw down a tough one!

“What?” you say?  “Work out with my kids? Jamie’s lost it!”

And while that may be true (Hah!), that’s not the case with today’s post about how to work out with your kids and what can happen with it!

Saturday morning, I was planning on doing a sprints workout.  Sprinting is an awesome form of exercise – I know a ton of exercise and movement mavens who put it in their top three exercises/movements to do for total body health and improvement.  It builds strength and lean muscle, it increases endurance, it promotes human growth hormone production, and you can do it anywhere – and quickly!  So I came downstairs, chatted with my family for a bit, and then announced I was heading out to run.

My son asked “Can I come, too?”  And of course, my response was “yes! Go get your shorts on!”  So Duncan ran upstairs to get dressed – put on his athletic shorts, a t-shirt from a race he ran, his shoes, and we headed out to a nearby baseball field.

Since I haven’t run sprints in a while, I did a lighter sprinting workout – two half-speed “warm-up” sprints of about 50 yards and then five at full-speed.  The thing with sprints is that you don’t have to time yourself, or anything: you just have to run as fast as you possibly can.  Period.  It’s that complete effort that brings the results.

Duncan and I set up our course (using two cones we found at the baseball field, thank you Mr. Serendipity) and then we did our warm-up and our light stretching (Grok Squat and others).  Then Duncan told me he wanted to do the starter sound (like he hears at my wife’s and daughter’s swim meets) and I told him that was a good idea.  So, with a “take your mark…BOOP!”, we were off!

We had a ball!  We high-fived each other and I cheered him on and the whole nine yards, and I got a great workout in while having fun with my son.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

So here’s the issue I see with people who tell us they don’t have time to work out:  they aren’t thinking outside the box enough.  They think that workouts mean treadmills in the gym (or even at home, if they haven’t converted them to clothes racks yet), or having to go to a zumba class, or weightlifting routines that take an hour and a half, or whatever.

And while many gyms do have child care and such things, I think there’s a lot to be said for including your kids in your workouts!  You’re creating the best example you can and increasing your kids senses of self-worth.  And you’re also creating a bond with your kids that they did something you did and you wanted them there – that they weren’t just in the way.

Finally, let’s look at some examples of workouts you can include your kids in.  Obviously, #1 is:

  1.  Sprints!
  2. Body-weight workouts on a playground – they can play while you do pull-ups, squats, push-ups, whatever.
  3. Running – if your kids are a little older, they can run with you and even train for family races.  There are a ton of fun races that you can do with the family these days like Color Run and such.
  4. MovNat workouts – what could be more fun for kids than running around in nature!  Climbing, crawling, swimming, hanging, all sorts of natural movement is great for kids.  And, you might even learn something from them in this regard!

Changing your mindset on workouts from gyms to outdoors and including your kids is a great way to improve all sorts of facets of life!

So how can you get a workout with your kids?  Share some of your ideas below! And if you liked this article, please share it! 

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  • Simon Maynard

    Another great article Jamie. I used to work out out with my kids by actually using them in my workouts. I’d put one on my back and do squats or push ups. I’d carry them one in each arm like a modified farmer’s walk. I’d throw one up in the air for shoulder pressing. They’re getting a bit big for that now at 8 and 10, so we’ve moved on to doing Animal Flow and Gymnastics together. And of course swimming; helping them learn to swim has been the highlight of my paternal career.

    • Sounds similar to my situation! I used to joke that I was going to emulate the Greek wrestler Milo, who used to carry a calf the length of a stadium daily. And as the cow grew, he had more resistance. Similarly, I used to military press my son until he got too wiggly. My daughter is more amenable, but not on a daily basis. No greasing the groove with the kids. 🙂 We still roughhouse a lot, though, I pick them up and run around and such.

      Now the kids do races with me – our local Mud Ninja race has a fun kids’ race, and even my son goes through it despite his autism. He loves it – for different reasons that my race-loving daughter, but who cares as long as he’s getting positive movement and having fun!

  • Also, infants make great alternatives for medicine balls. (As long as you don’t use them for medicine ball smashes.)

    • Or Kettlebells. I can see Kettlebell swings working really well. 🏋