There’s no getting around it: modern life is busy!
While the art of juggling professional commitments with family life represents an age-old struggle, in today’s ‘always online’ society, opportunities to carve out some you time seem increasingly rare.
Achieving both your career targets and family goals is a huge challenge in itself. I share some thoughts on this topic in my most recent blog.
However, even if you happen to have your work-life balance down to a tee (well done you if this is the case!), that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have an abundance of spare time. In fact, it’s probably quite the opposite.
It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that one of the obstacles to keeping fit most commonly cited by parents – both mothers and fathers – is childcare. With the school run, homework, mealtimes and everything else in between, it can be difficult to find any personal time to hit the gym or get out and about.
If this applies to you, don’t worry; all is not lost. The home workout scene has exploded during recent years (one of the few positive side effects of the pandemic).
As a result, there’s no need to choose between staying active and spending time with your children. You can do both at the same time.
Families that exercise together are not only spending quality time with one another, but they are also helping to instil active behaviours that are likely to last a lifetime.
And for all you adult fitness fanatics, don’t be fooled… Just because a workout is child-friendly doesn’t mean you won’t benefit. If your children are anything like mine, you may even find yourself struggling to keep up.
Even if you don’t have the time to follow along with a particular online fitness channel, there are loads of activities you can introduce in a less regimented way. For example, here are 12 family-friendly workouts you can start with your children right now in your own home.
For anyone who’s looking for something a little more rigorous, here are seven of my family’s favourite fitness channels:
My first pick is a local channel. The chances are that readers who live in the UAE will be familiar with the Dubai Fitness Challenge (aka #DUBAI30X30), an annual initiative that encourages residents of all ages to complete 30 minutes of activity each day for 30 days.
However, what you may not realise is that the scheme’s YouTube channel contains loads of workouts that can be completed in your own home. It’s also a treasure trove for anyone looking for fitness-friendly locations to enjoy around the emirate.
Anyone with ties to the UK will probably have heard of the fitness sensation that is Joe Wicks. Throughout the country’s multiple lockdowns, Wicks has been providing fitness and healthy living advice to families across the internet – so much so that he’s become known as “the nation’s PE teacher”.
Whether you’re looking for fun workouts or tips on how to eat more healthily, The Body Coach TV has plenty of high-quality content to keep fitness fans of all ages happy.
If you’re eager to reignite your fitness regime but concerned you might not be ready to take on anything too strenuous, you should definitely check out Anna McNulty’s channel.
With a focus on flexibility, McNulty has recorded a broad range of stretches and routines for beginners and up. These exercises are also ideal if space in your home is at a premium.
To say that Sweat Kids TV is high-energy would be an understatement. Although perhaps best suited to younger children, the creative minds behind this channel integrate family-friendly exercises with chaotic (and delightfully silly) storylines.
With videos themed around everything from Space Jam and Monsters Inc. to Minecraft and Super Mario, there’s bound to be something here that will appeal to your kids.
Here’s a channel that’s been built by a mum for mums and their young ones, offering exercises to take you throughout pregnancy and well into childhood.
Launched in 2017, Pregnancy and Postpartum TV provides a wealth of video content that can help people of all ages stay active, from baby and toddler ballet classes to Disney dance workouts and more.
If you live in the emirates and you have school-age children, you may already be familiar with The Daily Mile UAE. The local chapter of this global initiative is designed to get kids jogging or running (at their own pace) every school day for 15 minutes.
You may not be aware that the UAE branch of The Daily Mile has its own YouTube channel. Although not the busiest platform on this list, the videos that have been uploaded include UAE-inspired fun for all the family, from superhero workouts to water adventures.
After all this excitement, my final recommendation is one that could help parents looking to introduce a bit of peace and tranquillity into their households.
Not only does Cosmic Kids Yoga offer videos that cleverly introduce poses and exercises to beginners, but the channel also covers a variety of wellness and education-related topics, from confidence and friendship to mindfulness and relaxation.
With so much choice out there, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Even if you limit your workouts to the handful of channels I’ve recommended, you’ll probably still have enough content to last until your kids aren’t kids anymore.
Try not to set the bar too high. Be selective and choose activities that suit you and your family.
The main thing to remember is that, when it comes to fitness, little and often is better than not at all. Just do what you can and enjoy spending some quality time with your children.
Fitness is important but, above all, family-friendly workouts should be fun!