How to have a full body work out while playing with your kids outside

As a full time mom, I know how difficult it is to fit in those work outs. I found a way to have a full body work out while playing with my kids outside. All what I need is a jogging stroller, a playground and my kids.

I start with my warm up, jogging to a playground that is about 1 mile (10-15 minutes) away from our house. Once I get to the park, I start playing game with my girls: an animal game (monkey bars), wheels on the bus game (squads on a carousel or a swing), a counting game( holding my legs up while hanging on a ladder). We also play “who can jump the fastest to the other side go the playground” (since I am bigger I have to jump on one leg), or “who is the fastest crab” (get in the squad position and try to walk without getting up), or some other silly game that my girls come up with every time.


If a park has a monkey bar, we love to play Guess Who Am I. I usually go first, making funny noises while I try to get myself across. My girls have to guess what animal I am. When it is their turn, they try to do the same, everyone laughs and I get my upper body work out.


Most playground structures have a ladder, where kids can climb to get to the top. I use the ladder for stretching my back and to get a good lower abdominal workout. We call it a Counting Game. I have to hang on the highest bar and raise my straight legs as high as I can, while my girls are counting. It sound very easy, but I can’t keep hanging with my legs at 90 degree for longer than 15 second. My preschoolers love this game, especially my 3 year old, who is just learning to count. Sometimes, my older daughter says she is too old for counting game, so I have her hang next to me to see who can stay on the bar the longest


Our playground also has a carousel, our absolute favorite Wheel On a Bus Game. I like to do my squads on it while it is in motion. I know it sounds tricky, but it is not. I get my kids on a carousel, put on leg on the edge while holding with two hand to the bar. I use my other leg to push off. While I am on the ground I am in a squad position, then I release, then I get back to squad, then I release again, etc. It is very effective exercise for my legs and thighs, and kids love it. I usually do 15-20 on each side.

If we are at a playground without a carousel, I do my squads while pushing a swing. One push equals one squad, easy. Carousel or swing, to make it more fun for kids, I always sing some kids songs.


When my girls are done with my games and they just want to play by themselves, I get down and do my plain pushups (15-20 repetitions), some leg kicks (15-20 each leg), and plain old sit ups. Most of the time during those exercises my girls will come and try to mimic me or just make fun of me.


Usually, the playground takes about 30 minutes. When we are done, I get my girls back to the stroller or their bikes and we run home,the same one mile back.

When I look at the result: I run 2 miles, had full body work out, and my girls had fun quality time with their mommy at a park.


Meltdown at a Swimmeet


While it is still on my mind… Yesterday, Anastasia (my oldest daughter, age 4.5) had her swim meet. It was her fourth or fifth one, so by now, I was thinking we are used to it, we are over the exiety, the scare, we know what to expect. Oh my, I was wrong, very wrong…

Most swimmers know that you have to do a warm up before the meet, so did my daughter. We ( me, Anastasia and her 3 year old sister Tatiana) showed up early, just so Anastasia can take her time to get used to the place, do her warm ups and get comfortable. I got her into the suit, cap, and google we got to her lane, and all of the sudden she refuses to get into the pool.
My first tactic was to encourage her; “Go in it will be so much fun, you need to warm up your body, so you can swim very fast during the meet!” This lasted for about 5 minutes, then I thought maybe I should leave and have her coach deal with it. So I took me 3 year old and went the bench. i don’t know what the coach was telling her, but 5 minutes in, Anastasia was still on the deck clinging to her coach. I felt bad for the lady, she had a lot going on with all other swimmers, so I came to take over Anastasia. At that time, she started crying and screaming that she doesn’t want to do warm ups, she just wanted to do the meet.
Ok, some of you might says, just let her be and let her do just the events that she is interested. But we are already 15 minutes in it, at this point, I just want her to get in the water just to teach her that you don’t get what you want just by screaming and crying. So, I go to my next tactic, Bribing. If you get in the water, I will buy you ice-cream, etc. This lasted another 10 minutes. Don’t forget, this is all happening in front of the pool where hundreds of people are watching me and probably think “Thank God this is not me”. Another 10 minutes in I realize that 10 more minutes and they will close the pool and I will loose that battle, so I go on to my last reserve: “It is your choice, if you don’t want to get in the pool you don’t have to, but then I will make my choice and not let you go to the birthday party tomorrow.” I know it was so low, but I was running out of ideas, and 40 minute of crying and creaming was getting the best of me. When they announce that the pool is closing she agreed to get in the water but not to swim.

Ok, I take it, it was not a win, but she had to over come her melt down and did what needed to be done. Once she got into the pool coaches let us go to the small pool where she agreed to do couple of laps of freestyle. She refused to do anything else, and I left her have that battle. “Good job, Anastasia, you did it, I am so proud you”- I said. “Good job, Dina, I am so proud of you, you didn’t kill your child in front of a 100 people and stayed COOL.”




Don’t Just Rely on Your Kids Swimming


I saved my children from drowning today, I am still shaking. Thank you God for holding my little angels hands for putting me right where I needed to be at the moment. I have two daughters and both feel very comfortable in the pool. My oldest one, Anastasia, is almost five and she swims competitively; my youngest one, Tatiana, is three and a half and she can swim 10 yards freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.

When the girls want to get in a pool at a friend’s house, I let them get in, but I stay outside of the pool. Today, we went to our cousins house and they have a nice pool, so my girls wanted to get in. They were playing for a while in the water, and it was almost time to go home. I was standing right by the edge of the pool, trying to convince them to get out, while all the other four adults were seated at the table five feet away engrossed in conversation. Anastasia was trying to carry Tatiana out but the pool was too deep for her, so she started to sink. She wouldn’t let her sister go unaided, meanwhile she was having hard time to keep herself above water. When I asked Anastasia: “Why you wouldn’t let go of Tatiana?” She said: “She is my sister, I love her, I didn’t want her to die.”

This summer, one of my friends who also have kids in swimming told me that I should watch a video about kids drowning. “Why?” I asked. “Drowning is very different from what you see in a movie, she said, it is very calm, and looks like the kid is just playing.” I didn’t watch the video, but I remembered her words, and today, when I saw my kids drowning in front of me, that phrase appeared in my head. I immediately jumped in the pool and got my kids out even before they realized what was happening. Parents, especially of kids who know how to swim, don’t rely just on your kids swimming ability, anything can happen.

If I wasn’t standing right next to the pool, watching my girls, the ending to this story could have been different. Please don’t leave your kids in the pool unattended and please don’t rely just on their swimming.


Turkey Trot

Every year my entire family participates in the local Turkey Trot. I run my standard 5K and my three year and my five year old run one mile with my husband. It is such a great family tradition, that puts all of us in a spirit of Thanksgiving. We have been training for our runs for months now, especially the girls. We had picked up our shirts and numbers the day before and everyone was ready for their race. On the morning of the race, we all got up and it was raining… and not just a little drizzle, it was a pouring rain with a gusty wind. I was debating whether or not I should go, but still made myself do it. I knew that if I didn’t go I would regret it and feel that I let myself down. I left my husband home with the girls and took off.

By the time I found parking and got to the start, the race had begun. Usually, I get in the race mood, get my pace and zone out. This time, I had an injured hip, so I wasn’t racing against the clock, so I was able to look around and take it all in. When I started to run, the rain and the wind has stopped, the leaves were quietly falling, the crowd was cheering the runners up. For the first time, I was able absorb the atmosphere and enjoy myself. I was enjoying the experience and the surroundings that was created by people in the community. I saw the beautiful autumn, the cheerful crowd, and all kinds of different runners: an old lady that is around eighty, professional athletes, parents running with their kids, teenagers having fun running in a group, moms with strollers. Everyone of every age was enjoying the spirit of the upcoming holiday season. I was able to lose myself in the moment and feel how thankful I am of my life, my health, the great community that I live in.

If you haven’t done it yet, don’t be afraid, sign in for your community Turkey Trot! It will give you a great opportunity to bond with your community plus it will reduce the guilt of eating the Thanksgiving rich meal.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s