By: Patty De Belen

Being a parent can take a big toll off of your “me” time. Between juggling your career, managing the household, and attending to your child’s needs – you’ll be lucky to have an extra 30 minutes to catch up on your favorite TV shows. With all that in play, it can be extremely difficult to squeeze fitness into our already busy schedules. 

But from a mommy to other parents out there, I discovered a trick to keep your fitness regimen in check whilst being on top of your parent-game! And it’s as simple as letting your child tag along on your fitness time. Exposing your children to sports at a young age has a lot of benefits to their physical and psychological development, not to mention it also establishes a healthy way of family bonding.

Start With A Simple Walk

Based on experience, walking is a great starter exercise. I completely stopped any fitness regimen from the third trimester of pregnancy up to when my son was 8 months but decided to start again since I was always feeling sluggish. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself by jumping into strenuous exercises, so I started clocking in a 20-minute walk with  my son in his stroller, every day!

What started off as a way to get myself back to moving soon became our go-to afternoon past time. My son was excited about getting to  experience different sights and sounds everyday. He was so amazed to hear birds chirping and I would narrate to him the different colors of what we saw around. It became even more exciting for us when he started walking. He had a reason to go out and I had an instant exercise buddy!

Make Exercises Kid-friendly

There are a lot of exercises you can do with your child at home or in the park you can easily search on youtube. There are even challenges like the Spartan Virtual Race that have activities children can do with their parents at home! When kids accomplish their virtual race, they get a virtual medal and can even opt to upgrade to an actual medal and a shirt to remind them of their accomplishment!

The toddler stage is the stage when your child emulates your words and actions the most. That said, you can opt to show child-friendly exercises that your toddler can copy. You can start with exercises such as arm circles, jumping jacks, and even air squats. My son was so entertained with me doing burpees that he tried to copy me – good enough for his first time! Trying out kid-friendly exercises helps you and your child communicate better and makes way for you and your child to have fun beyond screen time.

Play With Your Child In Playgrounds or Play-gyms

Pro tip to all the moms looking to shed off that baby weight, bring your child to a play gym and leave your help at home! You’ll be surprised by how many calories you’ll burn running around after your toddler – I would know, my son is a very hyperactive happy boy. I plan out play-gym dates with my son and show up in my yoga pants ready for the cardiovascular activity ahead!

On top of family bonding, I enjoy playing along with him because I get to witness milestones firsthand. I was with him when he first took his first 20-ft. slide ride, discovered he loves ball pits the most, and he absolutely loves anything with wheels. I’d like to believe that fostering a good relationship with your children starts with the effort you put in to actually get to know them.

Introduce Your Kids To Sports

When I started training for various competitions, I would bring my son along during training sessions. He loves watching me swim, the most. I discovered he loves the water just like his grandma and I. While I don’t let him do the swim laps just yet, I would allot time either before or after I train to frolic in the water with him.

This activity not only gives him a glimpse on competitive racing, but it also builds his social skills. He would play with my teammates while I do my laps at the pool, he would communicate whatever he needed, if any, and would be comfortable to eat with us afterwards as a group. I noticed after this experience, he became more outspoken and doesn’t get shy easily when he’s around other people.

The benefits of exercising with your child isn’t limited to physical benefits, but it also teaches values such as discipline and consistency on their own. Even if your child would not embrace the active lifestyle you partake in, they will know the family bonding you have established through it.

Patty De Belen
Patty De Belen
Patty started running in order to keep up with her super hyperactive little boy.
Few months after, he’s the one who needs to keep up with her.
She likes to share about her training and how it helped her garner strength
inside and out.