Creating a Home Gym for All the Family

Hands up how many people have had the seemingly sensible idea of installing a gym in their home? Especially if you’re home with kids in the evening! On the face of it this is a good idea – no more dragging yourself out of the house on evenings, or crashing in front of the telly since you’re stuck at home anyway or calling in at the gym after work; no more sharing sweaty machines with lots of other sweaty people.

What could be nicer than having your own shiny, clean facilities just waiting for you to amble in and use any time you want? But how many people have spent an absolute fortune on gym equipment they never actually use? There must be tons of dumbbells, ab crunchers, treadmills and whatever else, all expensively and uselessly gathering dust in spare rooms and garages up and down the land. So it’s clear that, if you really want a home gym you have to give it some careful thought.active-19413_960_720

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5 Ways To Include Exercise In Your Daily Life

As busy parents it can be really hard to add a fitness routine into the day – I know when I have a few minutes to myself I’d rather sit and sip coffee than sweat on an exercise bike! However, every bit of exercise helps, if only because by some cruel twist of fate, the more energy you expend in the right way, the more energy you have for the fun things. Or so they tell me!

I read an article recently with great tips for including exercise into your daily life which made me think of ways mums can include exercise into the things we already do.

The reality as parents we are very active a lot of the time anyway, but sometimes it just takes a little creative thinking to make the most of the time and energy you have, while at the same time making it fun for the kids and showing them a healthier way of life.

1) Walking

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I often take the kids to the park and sit in a shady spot while they play. Instead – with the motivation of Fitbit challenges! – walking around the outskirts of the park I can keep an eye on them, and get the step count up along with the heart rate.Read more: 5 Ways To Include Exercise In Your Daily Life

Ballet For Kids

I’ve been toying with putting Ameli in dance classes for a while now. She’s always asking for it, and she loved dancing around the living room.  I did ballet for a while myself, as a child, and I think it’s a great form of exercise, perfect for little girls (and boys). A few days ago Amanda from Show & Stay offered to write a post for me on the benefits of ballet for children, and it seemed like great timing, so here, for both our benefits, are some of the benefits of dance for kidlets:

Children can benefit from ballet lessons in many different ways, and it goes much further than just improving their physical health. Learning ballet serves as a very good foundation for other styles of dance that they may wish to focus on later, and it improves their understanding of music. Ballet is a great starting point if your child strives to be the next Billy Elliot.

Beginning ballet

Many pupils will be nervous ahead of their first lesson, but this is completely normal. Pushing them a little out of their comfort zone is one thing that ballet is great for, and it will ultimately improve their confidence as they realize that they can cope with difficult situations. Younger children may also find it initially tough to listen carefully and follow all of the instructions, but it won’t take long for them to get used to it, and having to pay such close attention will further their brain development massively.

Physical Benefits of Ballet

Ballet can teach even the clumsiest and ungainly child balance, coordination, agility and flexibility. Achieving ballet positions takes concentration and perseverance, and also provides an excellent workout for the whole body. It works most muscles and also helps heart health, increases endurance and overall stamina. Ballet will push the body to its limits and this will increase a child’s all-over physical fitness, and with it, their mental wellbeing. Dancers are often in better shape than sports stars.

Other Benefits of Ballet

One of the key attributes of ballet is strength in posture. Have you ever noticed how women who do ballet are always the most elegant? Kids with a better posture will have reduced risk of injury and backache in later life because they know how to sit and stand correctly. Good posture also enhances attention span*, so a ballet pupil is more likely not to be the pupil squirming in his/her school chair or slouching over his/her desk.

Parents who haven’t considered ballet as an excellent activity for their children because they think there are other sports that will accomplish the same and/or more, might like to consider the other benefits ballet affords.

It doesn’t have to be a team sport to deliver team sport benefits. When pupils go beyond the basics and begin to learn lifts and hold positions, ballet is teaching them trust and teamwork. It teaches them how to work together to achieve a goal and in a performance situation, shows them the importance of timing, communication and individual contribution in a team effort. This will increase confidence and promote ease in social situations and in later life, their work and career.

Having a fit and healthy body also means ballet pupils are likely to have a positive body image, which is especially important at a time where young people are under a lot of pressure from the media and society to have the ‘perfect’ body. Ballet will teach both boys and girls that strength and fitness are what to strive for, not thinness.

Getting inspired

Children are more likely to take their ballet lessons seriously if they are inspired by the professionals. Take them to ballet recitals, West End shows and a range of performances as often as possible, so they know what they could achieve if they work at it. You should also choose a ballet school that has regular (at least yearly) recitals, so your children can perform for friends and family, giving them a confidence boost and allowing them to feel the thrill of performing for an audience.

There are so many benefits of ballet that it’s definitely worth your children trying, especially if they’ve always wanted a go. Just remember that boys can do it too, and that all children regardless of gender, race, age, ability or even special needs will enjoy the benefits of ballet.

Well, I’m about convinced. Are you?

 

* according to this rather interesting study

 

Baby ‘Yoga’

One of the best classes I’ve attended with Ameli has been the Buddha Babies Yoga Class. Despite the name, there’s no spiritual element to the class, and I’ve  found that it’s given me invaluable guidance on spending time at home with Ameli actually interacting with her.
Read more: Baby ‘Yoga’