Ethnic pregnant mother doing yoga with her young toddler

Fun Frugal Ways to Stay Fit with Your Family

One of the biggest challenges, when it comes to domestic life, is balancing the need to save money, spend time with family and stay fit. All three do not have to be mutually exclusive. So while we are at a crucial juncture in the calendar when many a resolutions are falling away, why not find a way to manage all three at the same time?  There are many cheap ways to stay fit and spend time with your family. Our ancestors certainly managed this with financial ease.

Here is a list of a few practices you can adopt on your weekend adventures to accomplish all three…

During warmer days take marathon walks around the city with your kids

This is easily done if you have a stroller-friendly family with smaller kids and if you live in the city. A few summers ago, we would start at our home and travel north by foot. On the way we would see birds, window shop, grab a healthy snack on the way. It was a great way to see the city and teach our child how to safely make our way across the crosswalk and around the city. We would spend an entire Saturday walking uptown and back. Walking is a great way to get some non-strenuous exercise.

Pick a park and explore it for the day

Find a large park near your neighborhood, the kind with big old trees, hills and a path like High Park in Toronto. In smaller cities you may have to travel  out of the city limits. Go bug or bird watching, toddlers are fascinated with little moving creatures. If you’ve ever tried to go from point A to Point B on a warm summer day with a little one who just found the use of their legs and the fascination with butterflies, you will know that there is an insatiable love of looking at everything. A great game of “I spy” will help you find those little remarkable details in nature that may have eluded you as an adult. This will have you and your family out walking and exploring in nature.

Drop in family swim sessions at the community centres

Most community centres in major cities have a time slot allotted for family swim. Splashing around with your little ones (and big ones) can be great fun for a few hours.  Swimming pools at the local community centre are usually free. With a plan, Mom and Dad can hand off child care duties and take turns heading over to the bigger pool to get in a few cardio inducing laps in the swim lanes, if that is available to you.

Have an impromptu dance party

Children love seeing their parents dance and be silly. It is their ultimate delight, so pump up your favourite cool dance tunes or some serious Justin Bieber jams (or whatever your child is currently into), move some furniture out of the way in the living room and just start dancing for an hour. Hey, lifting them up into the air is pretty much tantamount to lifting weights and they’lll be full of glee when you do it.

The 7 minute workout Apps

This fun and quick frugal, fit tip is one is my personal favourite and something I have done with my daughter since she was two years old. You can download free quick workout apps that are about 8 or 7 minutes long. They include sit ups, push up, jumping jacks and running on the spot. My daughter loves to see the little graphic of the man doing each work out and counting each of them down. She knew how to do a push up and jumping jack before she even entered a gym glass at school. The younger you start doing something the quicker it becomes a part of your DNA. Now, a few years later, she will ask me, “Mummy, we haven’t exercised in a while.” As you can imagine, this has kept me honest when it comes to realizing that, “Yes! It indeed has been a long time so it’s time to exercise.”

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your family active and into fitness. The health benefits are worth it. You can still have fun and exercise without spending big bucks!