Including Family Fitness in Your Homeschool

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As any mother who wishes to make changes in her health knows, exercising with children running about is very challenging. Learn from a certified personal trainer how to add family fitness to your homeschool routine!

I admit – fitness is definitely not my forte. It’s something I’ve struggled to do for myself, and something I haven’t managed to add into our homeschool routine. Of course, the kids get lots of exercise and outdoor playtime. But today, I’m excited to be able to share with you some great ideas for family fitness in the form of a guest post from my friend Lydia Trumbo, mother of six (soon to be seven) and certified personal trainer!

As any mother who wishes to make changes in her health knows, exercising with children running about is very challenging. I’ve been there many times. My kids find my workout time as the perfect opportunity to ask all the questions, challenge me repeatedly to a duel with sticks, or ask over and over if I think they look like a ninja.

You drop down for push ups and they want to ride, you flip over for situps and they want to tackle. They are cute, but when this “spare” 25 minutes is all you have to move closer to your goals, it’s hard to remain calm and accepting through all of the distraction.

As any mother who wishes to make changes in her health knows, exercising with children running about is very challenging. Learn from a certified personal trainer how to add family fitness to your homeschool routine!

I’m here to tell you that we’ve all been there, it doesn’t have to be that way, and there are several excellent solutions to this issue. I must warn you, though, that a mindset intervention is required. Before you can achieve your goals, you’ve got to change your mind about your journey to better health and a stronger body.

{Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program, especially if you have a history of illness or injury. I don’t prescribe or adhere to any fad diets, fitness regimes, or supplements, and I don’t encourage you to, either.}

Redefine Exercise

Let’s redefine what you think of as “exercise” and replace the term with “movement”. Your body is able, and wants to, move in literally a million ways.

Because of our modern restrictive cultural habits, schedules, and chosen lifestyles, we’ve spent the majority of our lives sitting imobile in chairs. Try to take every opportunity you can to move throughout the day. You are trying to make changes to your body that will take time.

You may not realize the extent to which your ankles, neck, or shoulders can’t move even half of the range that they were created to. This tightness has bound you over your lifetime and it will take a great deal of patience to learn to move in new ways without injury.

Make Family Fitness Fun

Remember, for a minute, what it was like to be a kid. Most of us climbed trees, went swimming in the summer, played in the sand, road bikes, and got really muddy. Playing tag was one of my fondest memories as a kid.

Hold on to those thoughts. Consider taking one or two days every week and plan to enter your children’s world of outside play.

  1. Don’t just haul your kids to and from baseball or basketball or football practice. Throw the ball with them on the weekends. Run, throw, catch. They will love it, and you will get some amazing exercise.
  2. There are approximately 45 million different kinds of tag, and its a game for all ages (including your age). Yard games with your kids are a fabulous way to lose a few pounds, strengthen your back, legs, abdominals, and stamina, and bond with your kids. You’ll be the coolest mom in the neighborhood. Sack races, three legged races, jump rope, hide and seek, and the list goes on and on. Schedule it in, dress for sweat, and be as consistent as possible. It will be a weekly highlight for your family.
  3. One of the most fun and memorable ways to burn extra calories, have tons of fun, and spend quality time with your kids is taking them on active outings like hiking, playing at the beach, or even just climbing trees, or building forts in the woods. Admittedly, kids don’t always want Mom around crashing their playtime, but all it takes is 30-60 minutes for you to benefit from being out in the sun and moving and sweating to make it count as exercise. It sure beats the monotonous migratory walks that some families feel is their only solution to getting active as a group.

Solo Fitness is Important, Too

We can’t deny the wonderful benefits of working out with our kids, but we can’t ignore the important psychological benefits of exercising alone, either. At least once a week moms should try to get one solo workout.

A silent workout session can calm the nerves, brings mental clarity, and revives the spirit in a way that exercising with distractions just can’t. To gain the mental health benefits of working out alone, there should be no questions to answer, very little outside noise, and a mental regenerative aspect.

You don’t need to get away from your home and family to workout alone. You can wake early on a Sunday morning and do a body-weight or yoga routine in the silence and familiarity of your living room.

You can go on a long walk by yourself when your spouse gets home from work. When you have older kids, you can set someone to babysit while you get thirty minutes alone to get your sweat on. The key is to plan ahead and schedule when, where, what, and how you’ll get this important time to be laser-focused on building your own strength and making sure progress towards your goals.

Defining Goals

We all have different goals, and defining those goals will be what determines what workout is best for you. Here are some quick tips to take away with you:

  1. You need to do something you enjoy. Your workout shouldn’t be something you dread or the chances are very good that you won’t stick with your fitness habits.
  2. Dream big, start small. Let your beginning weeks be moderate and “doable” to avoid early discouragement. There is no need to work so hard that you feel sore and stiff for days after. Leave the muscle soreness to veteran athletes.
  3. Fully understand that you will have MANY “bad” days. This isn’t just a part of the journey, it is life itself. The integral part of being successful is starting again, over and over. To avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater every time you slip up, keep your larger goals ever in mind, and put plans “B” and “C” in place in the case that your ideal plan isn’t possible or you’ve had a moment (or a whole day) of weak self-control.

Embrace the Struggle

 Exercise alone isn’t sufficient for your healthy lifestyle like supplements aren’t enough for your healthy diet. Even if you successfully manage to make a habit of exercising for 30 minutes every day there are still 23.5 hours that, if remain unchanged, will be fighting any goals you may be trying to achieve.

One of the most pressing messages modern mothers constantly need reminding of is the closer we draw to our families, and the more accepting we are of our calling, the more success we will have at living a healthy lifestyle.

There is so much blessing to be found if you embrace the struggle to build strength, endurance, and fortitude through your tasks. The solutions to many of your health questions, be they concerning mental, physical, or spiritual health, are often found, surprisingly, in the children themselves.

If you love what Lydia shared here, head on over to her blog. She’s written a post specifically about setting goals for your family fitness. She’s also created a free chart you can download and print to track your progress!