Use your imagination and think like a kid again. What would you have done if you were with a whole bunch of other kids and had free time in the backyard or at an oval? Keep changing what you are doing to make it more fun – change the handicaps so whatever what age your kids are and you are, all of you have fun and a good workout.
For example the other day I dropped off my older son to his tennis lessons and right next door there’s a collection of 7 mini soccer fields which sometimes held soccer or Oz Tag competitions. On this day beautiful grass, perfect weather and not one person using it. I couldn’t have imagined that when I was a kid. I was there with my 6 year old son and our elderly dog. All we had was this ball in the photo – you know the cheap ones from the $2 stores. We kicked the thing as hard as we could as we ran along every single field – with all that air I could kick it as hard as I liked and it would just float through the air the same way you swing a badminton racquet against a shuttlecock. With all the bumps on it it was also unpredictable and we both had to run heaps to get to it. Sometimes we’d take turns kicking it into the soccer goals with the other person being goalkeeper. To make it fair I’d have to kick from way out, but my son could kick from almost point blank range. And when he did it wouldn’t hurt me if he whacked it into my face since it was so light, although I think it left some bumps….And since I needed to lose weight more than he did, every time the goalie missed stopping the ball, I’d have to run and fetch it which made things very fun for my son!
Then we ran over to a very wide mouthed stormwater canal – you know the things that flood when it rains heavily. There was just a trickle of water so we ran along each side of the canal and booted the ball over to each other – with the goal of making sure the ball didn’t roll down into the water. I’m not really sure if there is some law against doing this or some parent will now tell me how dangerous it is, but again there was no-one around on this beautiful day.
Suddenly the sprinklers turned on at the ovals and my son giggled in delight as we booted this ball through the water to each other and dared ourselves to run closer and closer to the jets.
After an hour we were all dirty, wet but had a lot of fun and although I didn’t wear my heart rate monitor or carry my pedometer I’m sure we used up a lot of calories. And that includes our dog. (And yes I carried a poo bag and did the right thing.) And I’m sure my colleagues will come down hard on me because we didn’t prehydrate and drink every 15 minutes – in fact we didn’t even have any water bottles with us – we just went home and slurped from the tap.
In part 3 of our series I’m going to outline some of the more structured exercise I’ve done where I’ve gotten a workout but my kids haven’t – however they’ve had a lot of fun and we’ve spent family time together while I’ve burnt some calories. This includes how you can run a high intensity circuit with just a medicine ball, skipping rope and two kids of different weights.
Feel free to describe some of the fun exercise you’ve done with your kids at different stages of your and their lives!