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Exercising with children in tow

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  February 1, 2012 10:34 AM

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On my playlist this morning: Africa by Toto
What I did: Jogged (30 minutes) Weights (15 minutes)

As the mother of an almost one-and-a-half-year old child, I know how difficult it can be to make time to exercise with a little one in tow. Literally. These days he's all about grabbing my hand and leading me somewhere. Though, I guess that makes me the one "in tow" ...

So, while I devote "alone time" at 5 a.m. as my primary workout time, there are also some sneaky ways I exercise even when I'm on solo baby duty when my husband is working or away.

Here are some of my quick and quirky ways to sneak in exercise with my tot:

Whatever he does, I do
If my rambunctious, active child wants to climb our stairs 13 times in a row because he finds it fun, I'll join him. He really likes trying to race me these days. This tuckers both of us out (I get a good heart rate going and he gets tired enough that he'll usually want to snuggle up and read a book or take a nap afterward). The bottom line here is that if my child is doing something active, I join him. I could watch from the bottom of the stairs and cheer him on, but it's more fun for both of us if I tromp up and down with him.

Get creative
Playdates don't just have to be fun for your children. A friend in my Mom's group suggested an outdoor yoga playgroup during the summer where parents could do yoga while we trade off watching each other's children. And, speaking from experience, a parent-child swim class offers a fun time for your kiddo, but also a great upper body workout for you (what with all the holding and bobbing your child in and out of the water!).

Involve your child in things you already like to do
My husband and I love to cycle. So when he was old enough to meet all of the size and weight requirements to sit in a bike chariot, we started taking our boy along with us on bike rides. Some days we can go fairly far (if he nods off in the trailer) while other days we are afforded just a short ride. But to me, a short ride is better than no ride at all. And most of these trailers are easy to hook on and off your bike. If you snowshoe, pull your child behind you in a sled (properly bundled up, of course).

What are some of the ways you exercise with your children? What are some other sneaky ways to get exercise in while they are playing?

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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