Working out may be the last thing on your priority list as a parent, but loving the great outdoors as a family should give you more than enough reason to get fit! As a parent, you’re essentially the troop leader, and sometimes even the designated porter of the group. And if you recall from our guide to Planning for Your First Family Camping Trip, there’s a long list of things you need to carry on your back. And remember, not all campsites you’ll encounter will be conveniently located near a car park!
Of course, we’re not talking about going to the gym every day or developing impressive muscles (though there’s no reason you shouldn’t!). Instead, here are a few easy-to-follow steps that will help you develop fitness for your family adventures:
Build leg muscles
It’s no big secret that going to the mountains requires a lot of walking. Ever experience leg cramps after a few minutes of trekking? That might be a sign that you need to build more powerful leg muscles.
The good news is that hiking is often a sufficient form of training for these key muscles. But if you currently don’t have access to trails, you can still train your lower body with a few exercises at home! Variations of squats and lunges are go-to exercises for both beginners and elite athletes. They’re simple and require no equipment at all, but are still effective in building leg strength.
Strengthen your core
While you don’t need a six-pack to enjoy the outdoors, you shouldn’t neglect your core muscles when trying to get fit. It’s what helps you carry heavy weights, according to Backpacker, and makes sure that you don’t hurt your back in the process. Try incorporating a couple of bicycle crunches, leg raises, and planks into your workout. And make sure to suck your navel in to activate the right core muscles.
Cardio is key
If you already do a lot of walking, chances are, you already have pretty good stamina. But you can take it a step further with aerobic exercises, like running. Not only will this make sure you can keep up with your children (who never seem to get tired), but it will also boost your heart health!
Running is the simplest form of cardiovascular exercise, but not everyone knows where to begin. Fortunately, there are gadgets that can help you out with the sport. One example is the popular Fitbit, a smart watch that can track your heart rate for different activities like running and swimming. In fact, a lot of tracking tech is now integrated into the clothing and exercise accessories, with the shoe insoles from NURVV Run measuring the user’s running technique using precision sensors. These keep track of details like cadence, step length, foot strike, and pronation and link up with an app to provide the user with the data. All of these combined can help you adjust your form and technique in order to run safely and pain-free. As the head of an adventure-seeking family, getting injured is the last thing you want to happen, and you can avoid this by utilising the right gadgets.
Train your balance
If you want a fun family activity, try yoga for a balance-building exercise. It can help you navigate tricky terrain as well as cultivate some much-needed peace of mind. Yoga teacher Marsha Wenig adds that it’s also an effective way for kids to destress and develop self-esteem. Simple moves like tree pose, downward-facing dog, and warrior pose can be enough to maintain balance, both physically and mentally.
For more on family, adventure, and travel, be sure to explore our posts here on Juggling on Rollerskates.