When your workout buddy wets the bed
October 6, 2017 12:40 PM   Subscribe

My son, who just turned four, has been clamoring to exercise with me. I was hesitant at first, but we've been having a blast going for quick runs, having dance offs, and doing yoga together. I'd like to regularly introduce new activities to keep it interesting for him, especially when it starts to get too cold to go outside. Any suggestions for how we can work out together in an age-appropriate way?

This is great motivation for me to get some exercise and nicely tires him out before bed, but it's starting to get repetitive. Workout videos or exercise routines that I've found tend to be geared towards older kids or parents with babies. He's not quite able to grasp fitness video games. And any mom-and-me classes seem to be scheduled during my work hours.
posted by galvanized unicorn to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Maybe rock climbing or bouldering? The climbing center near me has programs for youth climbing--seems like that might be a fun thing to do with him. Plus you can do it in the winter!
posted by stellaluna at 12:45 PM on October 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

+1 for rock climbing. My 3-year-old niece loves it.

Also, a local college opens up their indoor track in the winter in the early morning to community members. It's large enough that Serious Runners have space to do their thing and families, shufflers, and the like have space to do their thing. Plus some room around the outside for stretching, yoga (and dancing, I'm sure). Maybe there's a place nearby that has a similar arrangement or would be open to starting something like that.
posted by carrioncomfort at 1:03 PM on October 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

My five-year-old and I play 'tennis' on a racquetball court. It helps him with hand/eye coordination and me with running to get the ball.
posted by statsgirl at 1:15 PM on October 6, 2017

Rock climbing and roller skating. Maybe some of the circus arts if you have a facility that offers silks, trapeze, lyra, etc.,

Kids are normally great at rock climbing and bouldering because they tend to be more intuitive about it than adults.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:23 PM on October 6, 2017

Oh, I forgot to add this. Find an activity like the rock climbing or roller skating or whatever. Pick a time to go do that on the weekend or a weeknight that fits in your schedule. The other nights of the week work up a program to improve the main activity. Do cardio or stretching or yoga as a way to enhance main activity. Doesn't have to be long or complicated.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:28 PM on October 6, 2017

Best answer: 7 Minute Workout. Short but effective if done in earnest, cute video and fun for your partner. My son loved it when he was 7 and still does at 10. Requires no equipment and perfect for indoors.
posted by jclarkin at 1:57 PM on October 6, 2017 [6 favorites]

Indoor games like Hullabaloo and Twister can be great fun & raise a sweat.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:37 PM on October 6, 2017

Tag. Jumping over things in the house (toys, furniture, each other).
posted by redorangeyellow at 2:48 PM on October 6, 2017

I'd look for bodyweight workouts, especially short circuits. For example, this one (which I found by searching just now) is

20 bodyweight squats
10 push ups
20 walking lunges – 10 each leg
10 dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug or another weight)
15 second plank
30 jumping jacks

This isn't ideal because it uses a weight, but the general idea is doing things like push ups, squats, jumping jacks, etc just using your body weight. If you move quickly it can be super exhausting and a great workout.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:16 PM on October 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

As a kid of about that age and older, I loved joining my mom for yoga in our living room/play room! Your post brought back happy memories of my 4-7 year old self hanging out with mom. My other favorite workout memory from that age is Jane Fonda. My mom had made an audio tape of it (no TV in the living room at that time), and it’s like this fun, easy dance. YouTube link for one, but there are more.
posted by alligatorpear at 6:53 PM on October 6, 2017

Teach him to jump rope? It's great exercise, but also fun for a kid.
posted by LizardBreath at 7:27 PM on October 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I rode my bike while my mom went for a run, starting around age 4.
posted by rockindata at 7:30 PM on October 6, 2017

Best answer: A morning stretch I’ve been doing with my kid about that age: ankle alphabet stretches. You both lie on your back on the floor, raise one foot, and, in tandem, write each letter of the alphabet in the air with your big toe. Start with A-M on one foot & N-Z on the other—your foot gets tired! It’s been a lovely routine for us.
posted by miles per flower at 9:47 PM on October 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Hit the thrift store or amazon and pick up a bunch of exercise videos from the 80's...I used to check them out from the library too. Actually, they're probably all on youtube. (The Cher one will make you really feel the burn in your shoulders, because shoulder pads)
posted by sexyrobot at 10:46 PM on October 6, 2017

Aerobic step? You can often find these used for cheap, so you could get one for each of you. Then work out with a fun step DVD.

A mini-trampoline is super fun!
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:50 AM on October 7, 2017

Bosu ball? My kiddo has been obsessed with mine since day one. Super fun to balance on (and yes, jump on like a tiny trampoline).
posted by anderjen at 11:07 AM on October 7, 2017

Maybe it's the Minnesotan in me, but there isn't a too cold to go outside for exercise. There is inadequate clothing, but that's a separate question. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are fun, and sledding is a workout if you run back up the hill.
posted by advicepig at 12:33 PM on October 7, 2017

Build obstacle courses in your house: jump over books spaced out on the floor, then run across the room, bear crawl down the hall, do a few pushups, hop from side to side across a rope on the floor, somersaults across the carpet, etc. Deciding what to do can be very fun for kids.

There's also the classic: chase and tickle.
posted by medusa at 7:58 AM on October 9, 2017

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