27/07/2009 15:04 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Exercising With Kids

Despite dreams of making it to the gym/pool/class and leaving your child at the crèche, we all know it's the very organised and motivated few who manage this on a regular basis.

The rest of us have to plan around the children, and refuse to let them become an easy excuse to do nothing! And since it's Easter, now's as good a time as any to get exercising with your kids. Just remember:

  • You're setting them an excellent example for their future

  • If you're feeling down, regular exercise helps lift your mood

  • It also helps you cope better, and as you get fitter you'll find you have more stamina

With a Baby
You're never sure if the baby is going to snooze for five minutes or five hours so the trick is to break exercising down into short blasts you can fit in during the day.

  • Many exercise videos are broken down into short sections you can do in a brief flurry of activity, or all together if you've got time

  • Yoga stretches are wonderful for de-stressing and achieving suppleness

  • For an instant pick-me-up, try ten minutes of skipping to get that heart rate going!

  • When the weather is good, head outside with the pram or buggy. Walking briskly for an hour will bring physical results - not to mention give the psychological benefits of getting outdoors

  • Once baby is old enough, ditch the car and cycle everywhere with the little one in a seat behind you. Great for legs and bums and saving money!

Resolve to do something every day, even only for ten minutes. It all adds up and after a few weeks you'll notice the difference.

Young Children
Young children love moving. Just try to stop them! Look to them for inspiration and get active with them.

  • Kick a ball around outside

  • Take them swimming (maybe book them in for a class while you do your lengths)

  • Join in with the latest craze of dance mats and tie yourself up in knots trying to do the steps

  • Do your exercise videos with the kids. Kids love moving around to music

  • Try some fun yoga poses like the cobra and the camel. These are marvelous for teaching children how to slow down. Any good yoga video or book will show you how

Older Children
This is where the fun really starts and you can do something as a family:

  • Martial Arts often have classes where adults learn alongside children. These are wonderful for fitness, suppleness, concentration, and self-confidence

  • Once your child can swim join them for widths or lengths to build up endurance, both yours and theirs

  • Both horse-riding and sailing are challenging and make great holidays once you've mastered the skills

  • You could get the family out in the countryside hiking or orienteering for a dose of fresh air

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