My kids love to exercise! I do too. Maybe that's why they do?
Anyhow, every week day we do something that we call "Morning Shenanigans"
Some day I'll write an article about WHY we workout every day... but today I wanted to share my favorite exercises.
By the way... I'm not going to hurt my kid's skeletons... or whatever else you're afraid of (you'd be surprised how many people say things like that to me). I'm not concerned because of this - think about kids 100 years ago... pulling weeds, throwing hay, climbing trees, throwing stones, jumping, pulling, swimming.... They didn't get hurt... they got strong! If you don't like your kids exercising... I encourage you to re-think that position!
When we workout we laugh, sweat, compete, and look for ways to make exercise fun again!
Our workouts have been greatly influenced by a man named Georges Hébert.
I read about him in Christopher McDougall's book, "Natural Born Heroes" (This is easily one of my favorite reads in the last several years! Check it out!)
Hébert wrote some things that were transformational for me... let me share a paragraph from "Natural Born Heroes"...
"Hébert declared, 'Be fit to be useful.' It was brilliant, really. In those final two words, Hébert came up with a complete philosophy of life. No matter who you are, no matter what you're seeking or hope to leave behind after your time on the planet - is there any better approach than simply to be useful?
'Here is the great duty of man to himself, to his family, his homeland and to humanity,' Hébert wrote. 'Only the strong will prove useful in difficult circumstances of life.'"
Hébert needed a "lab" to test his ideas... he realized that he had the "perfect case studies right under his foot: his kids."
"When children play, he realized, they're really role-playing disaster scenarios. Turn them loose and they'll run, wrestle, hide, roll around, kick-fight with their feet, and leap off anything they can climb - exactly the skills that would keep them alive in an emergency.
Natural training should spring from nature, Hébert decided, so kids' play would be his starting point. It didn't take long to realize that most roughhousing is a selection from three basic menus:
Pursuit - walk, run, crawl
Escape - climb, balance, jump, swim
Attack - throw, lift, fight
Based on these ideas, Hébert built an entire training method, the Natural Method, around these basic movements (watch this AMAZING video to get an extreme sense of what the Natural Method is all about).
He later said:
"Teach your [children] to walk, to run, to jump, to box and to swim, and leave those artificial extension movements, which mean nothing, alone."
It really comes down to this... WE NEED TO MAKE EXERCISE FUN AGAIN!!!!
So, with that background, here are the favorite exercises that I do with my kids:
Push something! Some examples would be push ups, handstands, overhead presses, etc.! These work our chest, shoulders, arms, and core. (Some overhead pressing work by the seven year old #princesswarrior Riley)
Pull something! Some examples would be pulling yourself up a rope, pulling weight towards you (e.g. deadlifts, rows, pulldowns, pull-ups). These exercises work our back, arms, and our core. (Check out this rope climbing by 8-year old Karis.)
Run! - Sometimes we full on sprint! Other times we jog. Sometimes we just walk fast... other times we just piddle along and look at things while we talk! Remember, we're "making exercise fun again." This exercise works our cardio system, and legs. (Here we did some pushups... and some sprints... and laughed a lot too)
Throw something - We will throw the 10 lb. medicine ball... flip the 80 pound punching bag... or one time we threw a brick!!! Throwing trains us for explosive power and engages the entire body! Plus, it's a lot of fun! (Here's Karis flipping that punching bag!)
Jump on or over something - We jump on boxes, and up steps. We see who can jump the highest, and who can jump the furthest. We've even jumped on Mom's counter (didn't go over well... but was AWESOME)... and the refrigerator (again, didn't go over well... but was AWESOME)... and those phallic shaped things at Wal-Mart... we jumped over them too (check out the video)! So much fun... and an awesome way to train for explosive power which incorporates the entire body! (Here's the jump on Mom's counter... we got in trouble... but it was worth it)
Balance work - we spend a lot of time on the balance beam that I made. You'd be surprised how much effort it takes to stand on one foot... or walk the beam with your eyes closed... or carry something over your head while walking the beam! You'd also be surprised how much fun we have while doing it! (Here's a video of us walking the beam with our eyes closed)
There really are an endless number of ways to exercise and have fun! We've done some weird things:
Put weight in a wheelbarrow and had the kids push it! They even pushed me!
Filled water bottles with water and had a competition to see who could carry them the furthest.
See who can actually STAND on an exercise ball! (This has the added benefit of teaching you how to fall!)
Look... the point is to be fit so you can be useful... and in the process of training make memories, build character and have a ton of fun too!!!
What do you do with your kids? Share your ideas so we can all benefit... and remember, it's about #makingexercisefunagain!
YOU'VE GOT THIS!!!