Whether you’re looking to improve health because it’s a new year and you’ve made promises to yourself, or if you just in general want to improve the whole families health, I want to share three ideas with you. I’m not an expert, I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, but this year I’m once again trying hard to watch what I eat, make healthier choices, and up my exercise game. If you keep reading, you’ll also find a fabulous discount voucher for your swimming accessories, and an awesome competition to win an under desk cycle exerciser – I’ve been using it for two weeks now and it’s surprisingly fun!
Swimming has to be my absolute top go-to activity for the whole family. From babies to grand parents and even great grandparents too, whatever your fitness level, swimming is going to improve your health and be fun at the same time. If you have a newborn then swimming might seem very daunting, but getting kids in the water at an early age can be very rewarding for both of you. I’ve written up a swimming with a newborn guide just to help you get started.
You don’t need to commit to any serious lane swimming to start, or take out an expensive gym membership, just book a general swim with your local leisure center and get the family in the water and moving. As you build up your strength you can work on swimming distances, and if you’re child free – or the children are old enough to supervise themselves – you can start to work on some serious lane swimming. Swimming burns calories, builds arm, chest and leg muscles, is low impact so suitable for all fitness and weight levels, and it’s fun. How could you beat it!
The only part of swimming that’s not as fun for me is getting dressed again afterwards, which is always a bit difficult if you’ve got wet kids to deal with as well. For the last few months I’ve been using the Halocline Towel Robe (pictured above, along with their goggles and regular towel, which packs down really light for the kids!) It’s super handy as I can just pop it on and dry off quickly and easily whilst I’m doing other things at the same time. Use code WELSHMUM at the checkout for 10% off everything too!
Walking is a gentle exercise that the whole family can get involved in. Fresh air and spending time surrounded by nature also helps mental health, so if you’re not feeling up to anything on the exercise department, a simple short walk is still an achievement worth counting. Walking can be done all year around, just wrap up warm for the elements and check the weather forecast before heading out so you can be prepared for rain. Whether it’s a walk from your front door or further afield, count those steps as a big win.
I know I have a lot of local readers, so if you’re located in South Wales, I’ve compiled a guide to 10 family-friendly walks in Cardiff and South Wales as well, so get out walking!
Home Exercise Equipment
I’m not going to recommend you head to the gym. That’s definitely suitable for some people, and you’ll know if that’s your jam, but it’s not my scene. What I’m going to recommend is that you invest in some simple home exercise equipment. Exercising at home allows you to start your fitness journey, which you can always expand at the gym later on. It allows you to exercise when you want, for how long you want, in privacy, with your music on loud, or the kids playing next to you – whatever works for you.
A home exercise bike – A home exercise bike is my favourite piece of home fitness equipment. Cycling is relatively low impact compared to jogging on a treadmill, still burns loads of calories, and a lot of exercise bikes fold or don’t take up a lot of space. They do tend to cost a few hundred for a beginner machine, and still need a decent amount of floor space to use, which might make them a bit of a daunting pick. If that’s the case, I highly recommend a mini under desk bike and this is what I’ve been using so I can personally recommend this model. It doesn’t have to be used under a desk, you can just sit in a chair and use it. In fact, my son loves sitting in his chair and using it too, so it’s very accessible for kids in size. If you’re interested, I’ve got one to win, delivered direct to your door, just scroll to the bottom of the page!
Some dumbbells – There are dumbbells out there to suit any fitness level. You can start with as little as lifting 1kg – that’s like a big bag of sugar, or work your weigh up to lifting 20kg at home. I like small dumbbells as you can hold them whilst walking, dancing, or doing a workout and it just adds that extra level of challenge to up your strength and burn some calories. As a mum, I also don’t have a huge amount of time for exercise, so strapping on some wrist or ankle weights is a great way to burn some calories whilst doing the school run or even whilst doing housework (which definitely counts as a daily dose of exercise too).
A weighted hula hoop – I turn my nose up at most new trends, but the exercise trend I do love is weighted hula hoops. There’s lots on the market now but I’m a fan of the Original Weighted Hula Hoop which is adjustable for size as well as weight, meaning you can use it for kids (10year+) as well as adults. It’s all the fun of hula, but by adding weights you get a better workout. Get some music on and start wiggling!
A smart skipping rope – Skipping is a good high intensity exercise that you can do without leaving your living room (if you have space to do it without sending stuff flying), or the garden. You can take your skipping rope with you on walks, and get the kids involved too. I personally like a smart skipping rope – that’s a skipping rope that tracks your time and your jumps and shows it on the rope, or sends it to an app for you to track. This let’s you challenge yourself, or the family challenge each other, for extra motivation.
There’s also other ways to exercise at home. If you’re into gaming you could consider a VR system for fitness games, or playing Just Dance. You can do workouts to YouTube videos in your living room (invest in a good work out mat), or choose your own routine to your favourite music. The important thing is you get moving, and you find a fun way to workout that fits you and your family.
Win an under desk exercise bike
Alright, no more talk. Get your fingers clicking for your chance to win this under desk exercise bike worth £39.99. There is one prize to win, UK delivery only, and entries need to be in byWin an under desk Exercise Bike