Ultimate Workout Partners: Your Kids, BUT get them off the computer.
A new category of fitness videos and classes presents the opportunity for moms and dads to exercise with their children. One thing all parents can attest to -- whenever you get on the phone, shut a door or pop an exercise tape in the VCR, your children will need your immediate and undivided attention. There are several baby-play moves you do regularly which can be converted into fitness moves.
The following exercises should be performed in two sets of eight, working up to three sets of 12.
l Pick up baby, holding her securely, and march for five minutes.
l Next, sit in a straight-backed chair with the towel rolled under your knees. Set your baby or toddler on your ankles, holding the little one's hands. Keep your back straight, shoulders down and abdominal muscles tight. Straighten your legs to the count of a slow five until they are parallel to the floor. Hold for two beats, then bring your feet back to the floor to the count of five.
l Lay on your back, leaning your sitting baby against your bent knees. Holding the baby firmly with one hand, perform crunches while playing "peek-a-boo" with your child. Keep abdominals tight and crunch upward eight times.
l Position baby face-up on the floor. Place your hands shoulder width apart on either side of baby's face. From knees or toes, perform pushups slowly and deliberately, kissing baby with each rep. If you have a toddler or older child, he can crawl up on your shoulders and add weight to the pushup.
You can even use playground equipment to enhance your fitness while you keep an eye on the young'uns at play. Do chin-ups on the monkey bars, step-ups onto a slide and tricep dips using a bench. In other words, using your imagination and ingenuity is key.
As the children get older, participate in physical activities with them, not just for your fitness, but to continue teaching them that exercise is a part of life. Shoot hoops. Go ice or roller-skating. Ski. Play some of the old neighborhood games you played as a kid, like Red Light-Green Light, Red Rover, Gray Ghost, Hide and Seek or Tag.
l Ease your stress to help you be patient with your kids
l Increase your energy level so you can keep up with them
l Let you spend time having fun together
l Incorporate fitness into their lives at an early age, when habits are most likely to stick for life
So get out there and get started. Your body -- and your kids -- will thank you for it.