Share Fitness with the Family: 27 Activities and Workouts You Can Enjoy Together

Ever wonder why moms with young kids have a little extra pooch around the midsection? It’s either because a.) they’re lazy; or b.) there is absolutely zero time left in the day to punish their abs at the gym. My bet is on the latter. Before kids, moms had time to head out after work for a Pilates class or get up at the crack of daylight for spin. While parents with babies still have a tiny bit of down time (i.e. when the baby is asleep but we’re not) during the day, we fill it with things like laundry, coupon-clipping, grocery shopping, cooking, brushing our teeth… Oh, the sloth!

The fact still remains that every body needs to be healthy, and growing families are no exception. You might not be able to carve an hour-long chunk for you and your leg routine at the gym, but working in training throughout the day, with your kids, is equally effective.

Around the House

Especially when it comes to strength training and stretching, spreading out activities across the day will make your gotta-get-to-the-gym stress melt away. To avoid overload, try to incorporate two of these exercises into your daily routine until it becomes habit before adding a new one.

1.     Toilet Tushies—Every time you use the potty, do ten squats over it first. Since women go to the bathroom an average of 48 times a day this is some serious glutteal work. Abs in to keep your back straight, chest upright, and don’t let your knees jut out in front of your ankles.

2.     Stair Climber—Live in a two-story place or climb stairs to your apartment? Strap baby on your chest or back, and make it a goal to climb 60 extra flights each day. If that sounds outrageous, consider that it only takes the length of a commercial break to go 8 flights. You’ll burn an extra chunk of calories toting baby.

3.     Baby Shoulder Raises—What little one doesn’t like to be hoisted in the air? Make it a game and a challenge to push your tiny tot in the air 10 times slowly and then repeat the process two more times. If she starts to turn green from motion sickness give it a rest for a few minutes.

4.     Pop-Goes-the-Weasel—All around the mulberry bush the monkey chased the weasel, the monkey thought it was all in fun…Bend down half way in a squat and pulse with your arms out in front, then on “Pop goes the weasel!” jump up as high as you can. Little ones love the anticipation and you can get some good plyometric training with a vertical jump after the squat. Repeat until Princess gets bored.

5.     Jump Rope­—Skipping over a rope burns, drumroll please, 115 calories per 10 minutes! Grab your elementary aged kid and hit the driveway (ladies, please strap on a solid sports bra first). My favorite songs for jumping rope with the kids are the theme from Bonanza, Hairspray’s You Can’t Stop the Beat I (a killer 5-minute jam), Jamiroquai’s Canned Heat, and the incomparable Beat it.

6.     Couch Dips—Wave goodbye to those flabby underarm flags with triceps dips in your own home. Position yourself in a sitting position on a heavy chair or firm couch with your arms beside your hips and your legs straight or bent in front of you (the more you straighten them the harder this exercise becomes). Slowly lower yourself in front of the chair or couch until your elbows stick directly behind you at a 90° angle. Keep your chest up, shoulders down, and, the most crucial part, your body should graze the front of the chair or couch. Do 8 then repeat the process two more times.

7.     Chair Pushes—Many of us carry stress and tension along the upper back and shoulder area. To get rid of this tightness position yourself above a chair as if you’re going to do triceps dips, but instead of lowering your body, push your shoulders down and back several times (your body moves slightly up rather than down). This counter resistance will loosen those stressed shoulder muscles. Repeat several times throughout the day.

8.     Pretend You’re a Cat—This delightful book presents a serious of action rhymes about various animals. Read each page with Junior and then act out the describing words like jump, leap, fly, land on one knee, run, twirl.

9.     Peek-a-boo Abs—Lay down on the floor, knees bent, and put your baby or toddler at your feet. As you raise your torso to crunch your abs, give a smile and a peekaboo to your little one! She’ll love the game and giggle as you continue to the exercise.

10.  After Dinner Dance Party—By far our family’s favorite activity, put on some Hannah Montana after supper and jiggle away the calories with some music. But don’t sit on the couch watching your little ones perform, get up and lead by example. We jam out to the Party in the U.S.A., Roger Miller’s Chug-a-lug, and Boogie Shoes. Don’t ask.

11.  Movement Songs— This awesome list of explicit teaching songs encourages kids to begin coordination practice and follow instructions. You’ll be surprised at how much you move to the music!

12.  Videos—While the kids aren’t exactly involved in the Post Natal Boot camp I completely recommend it as a resource for new moms to use during nap time. Older kids can get involved, but it’s mainly for the parents. Mommy Baby Body Builders actually incorporates the kids into each exercise.

13.  Pilates Ball Ab Roll—Sit on a Pilates ball, feel forward and bent, and tuck in your abs by slightly rolling your rear under you. Put Junior on your lap. Begin to roll the ball in small circles directly under you, controlling the movement with your abs. Your little one gets a free ride while you work on your core! Keep that ball handy for a variety of exercises or strengthen your core just sitting on it to do laundry.

Park Play

Your local park is a hotbed of exercise potential­—not just for the little ones either! You can choose to eat bonbons on the bench while Junior gets his heart rate pumping or get up and join him. It’s really easy and fun!

14.  Incline Push Ups—Find a large step, the kind that lead up to upper levels on the playground equipment, and position your arms shoulder width apart. Complete three sets of 10 pushups (less if you’re dying after just a few) with a short rest in between each.

15.  Ab Toner, Monkey-style—Hang like a monkey on the bars. Slowly raise your knees with your abdominal muscles, not with your legs or back. Minimize swinging and stop the motion when you feel anything other than your abs doing the work. Don’t worry about weird looks from those moms on the bench, they’ll keep their jiggly tummy while yours tightens up.

16.  Bench Dips—Work the triceps muscles on a bench or low step. The trick here is to keep your shoulders back while and your back in contact with the bench or step. As soon as your body moves forward you begin to put stress in the wrong places.

17.  Monkey Bar “Pull ups”—Most of us can’t do a single pull up. Those suckers are near impossible without several months of training, and even then we need some extra assistance. So if your park has low hanging bars do a reverse pull up. Face up and grab the bar on top of you with your feet on the ground at an incline. Slowly pull your torso up to the bar with your chest and shoulder muscles.

18.  Play tag—”Tag! You’re it!” Run around like crazy and take no prisoners. Fully engage in tag and you’ll be sprinting like a basketball player while winning the Best Parent at the Park Award.

19.  Basketball—A serious game of 1/2 court basketball can burn over 500 calories per hour. Take your mind off sweat and heart rate monitors with a family pickup game at a park. Add even more burned calories with a full-court game.

20.  Rollerblading—Done anywhere there is smooth pavement, rollerblading is a serious way to strengthen abs and get a tight tush. While Junior rollerblades or bikes in front of you, keep up on your own skates. Always wear a helmet and pads, though. Any small fall going as fast speeds will set you back a few days or weeks. Plus it hurts a lot.

21.  Tiny Trike Time—Don’t make Princes bike in circles around you, keep up with her! Jog behind your fast mover on her streamer bike and you’ll be running a 5k in no time. Make sure she’s outfitted with a helmet before heading out.


Maybe you live many miles from a park and run errands often. Regardless of your lifestyle or habits, these activities can be done anywhere with minimal equipment. As long as you have a stroller, you’re ready for these exercises.

22.  Jog/Walk with Baby—Since beginning to train for my first half marathon I’ve preferred to jog alone. But when the Hubs works late and I still need to get some mileage down, there’s no choice but to haul the kids. I can attest that the most challenging and grueling workout I’ve ever had is to push two children while jogging. Not only do they love the quick pace, but the energy required to run with the extra load is amazing cross-training. Go slower and take more breaks, especially on a hilly run.

23.  Stroller Lunges—With your stroller out in front of you, lunge forward until both legs are at a 90° angle. Keep your steps wide and tighten the abs to support your back. Do 25 per leg before walking it off and repeating. Some kids don’t like the slow pace so you may have to break it up more often.

24.  Stroller Squats­—Kids love this because the stroller moves back and forth like a ride! Push the stroller in front of you while you squat then pull it back to you as you return to a standing position. Do 25 at a time and break up the sets with a quick walk or jog. Grab more great stroller exercises and accompanying videos from the American Council on Exercise.

25.  Park Far Away—It’s as easy as that! If you burn an extra 20 calories by parking at the farthest spot in any lot you can burn an extra 4-5 pounds per year. It doesn’t get any easier!

26.  Walk the Mall—Every time you head to the mall plan to do 2 laps before shopping for anything. If the kids are cranky, go even faster! Usually the quick pace keeps them more relaxed in the stroller. The average indoor mall has about a one-mile lap. With heat and cooling control there’s no excuse to squeeze in a comfortable workout with the kids.

27.  Stroller Rows—Your stroller is heavy! Make it a point to do 10 upper back rows with it every time you get in and out of the car. Slightly bend your knees and lean your torso forward a bit. Grab your stroller (horizontally) and, using your back muscles only, pull it from the ground to your midsection.


I review health and fitness products on my site First Page Fitness.

4 thoughts on “Share Fitness with the Family: 27 Activities and Workouts You Can Enjoy Together

  • April 20, 2011 at 2:46 am

    This is a very practical workout for moms out there. I love the fact that you can be creative and do some workouts around the house while taking care of the family. If daddy can do basketball workouts then mommy can do house workouts!
    Thanks for the fun and informative post!

  • Pingback: 27 Activities And Workouts To Enjoy With Your Family! « Quick Abs

  • December 3, 2010 at 11:23 am

    HAHA women go to the bathroom 48 times per day. We might “go” to the bathroom but we don’t actually “use” it all 48 times! This is a great list of family friendly workouts. Most of my coaching clients are working out at home and at local parks instead of using the gym so I can’t wait to use some of these ideas in my programs to them!

    • December 7, 2010 at 6:16 am

      Thanks for these awesome exercises. A lot of women, especially the Expats here in Bangkok could use some of these. I’ll be sure to reblog and repost this


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *