This got me thinking about exercise classes and a class I took after he was born 3 and a half years ago. It was run by midwives who were also trained fitness instructors and you could take your baby along to the classes (as long as they were not yet mobile) and lay them on a blanket at the back of the room. One of the midwives would always be on hand to watch the babies and you could pop off to check on them whenever you needed. It was a bit off putting having to turn round mid grape vine or lunge to check whose baby was wailing, but three months post birth it was better than nothing and I felt pretty good to be exercising my wobbly-mummy-love-handles (I still have them today thanks to my love of cake).
These days I wish there was an option that allowed my children to be in the same room as me while I had a workout. My gym has a crèche but I have never felt comfortable leaving my two there. So, here are my ideas of fun ways to combine your workout with looking after your offspring.
1. A gym for parents that has a baby or toddler station at each piece of equipment. Each station would provide a comfortable place to put a baby, with suitable entertainment such as rattles, sensory toys, and a baby bouncer. For older children there would be something exciting and stimulating at each station, such as colouring pens, train set, books or dare I say it, an iPad. You might not be able to do a long workout on the treadmill but interval training is more effective anyway.
2. Grown up soft play. When I take my children to soft play I sometimes feel like I’m getting a bit of a workout as I lift my youngest son up to bits he can’t reach, squeeze myself through holes designed for 4 year olds and hurl myself down the helter skelter. So, perhaps alongside the toddler option there could be a more challenging grown up option offered. You could keep pace with your child whilst getting the aerobic workout you would on an assault course.
3. A running track with a self-contained buggy park and a toddler gym or play zone in the middle. The track needn’t be as large as those in traditional athletics stadiums, so you could keep an eye on your young ones as you run laps.
4. Classes for adults and children. This one is for slightly bigger children who have a longer attention span than your average gnat. Specially trained instructors (very brave, specially trained instructors) could run a high energy class that teaches moves and routines to parents and children. Kids love dancing so a kind of Zumba to nursery rhymes would be an excellent way to burn a few calories.
5. Take your baby into the adult pool in a rubber ring that contains a seat and push them along while you kick your legs out behind you. Maybe stick to the slow lane for this one; it might annoy the speed swimmers!
What do you think? Could any of these catch on? Would you like to exercise with your children? Or, would it be the last resort?