By Erika Volk
I have been a personal trainer for nearly six years and in that time have become very familiar with the struggles of the working mom. If there is one piece of advice I could give to busy working moms, it would be to get off the treadmill and go play with your kids!
For many parents squeezing a workout into their over-scheduled day means sacrificing time with the family. I hate this win-lose scenario! In college, I worked as a babysitter at the local gym and could see the heartbreak on parents faces as they poured into the door at 5:30 pm and dropped their kids off with the babysitter for the second time that day.
My solution to this problem is something I call “Cardio Playtime.” Cardio Playtime allows mom to get in an intense metabolic workout while kiddos benefit from some physical activity and attention from their #1 fan.
Cardio Playtime is also an opportunity to teach your child by example. According to the Journal of American Medicine, one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Unfortunately, this alarming trend has affected our children too. Over the last 30 years, childhood obesity rates have tripled. Now one out of every 3 children is overweight or obese (letsmove.gov). Kids that workout with their parents will be more likely to value and enjoy an active lifestyle as an adult. Just ask me – I started doing aerobics VHS tapes with my mom at age 3! She taught me how to lift weights when I was a teen and, by the time I was 29, I owned my own fitness business. Thanks, Mom!
The workout is broken down into 3 games that you can play in your yard or a local park. Each of the 3 games below should be played for 5-10 minutes depending on your fitness levels and schedule. Between each game rest until you feel recovered and then move onto the next game. Mom will need a 10-20 lb. non-bouncing medicine ball and your little workout buddy will need a beach ball or a rubber ball.
Game #1 – Break the Ground:
- Hold your ball with both hands and stand with your feet at shoulder distance apart.
- Brace your core and raise the ball above your head, fully extending your body.
- Reverse the motion, slamming the ball into the ground directly in front of you as hard as you can. Tell your buddy that “we are trying to break the ground with the ball!’
- Repeat for 8-10 repetitions.
- Rest and do another set.
- After 8-10 minutes move on.
Game # 2 – The Race:
It's time for a good old-fashioned footrace! Challenge your workout buddy to a race. Alternate between running the race at a full sprint and jogging the race when you need to recover. Your kiddo will win some and lose some, but you both will get a great workout.
Game # 3 – The Sumo Toss:
- For this game, it is important that you demonstrate the throw first and instruct your buddy to stay a safe distance away from the path of your medicine ball.
- Hold the ball with both hands, brace your core, assume a wide stance and squat down like a sumo wrestler.
- Toss the ball up and out in front of you as you extend your knees and hips.
- When the ball hits the ground, run after it and return to your starting area and repeat the throw.
- Count how many times you each can throw the ball in 2-5 minutes; rest and go for a second and maybe even a third 2-5 minute set.
Work-at-home moms are used to thinking outside the box when it comes to productivity. Exercising at home is just another way you can maximize your time and make more room for what’s most important in life. Quality time with your child and an intense workout all from the comfort of your home – now that’s what I call multitasking!
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Erika Volk blogs about how solo entrepreneurs, people who work from home, and business travelers can stay fit and healthy while pursuing their dreams. She is a certified personal trainer, nutrition coach, digital nomad, and entrepreneur. Subscribe to her newsletter to learn more about how to become fit and healthy without ever setting foot in a gym or supplement store. Check out her blog at erikavolkfitness.com.