10 Ways to Get a Good Workout... Even With Kids Around


I remember chasing my three-year-old daughter around the front yard, 40 pounds overweight, staggering to keep up, and knowing I had to change. Change my eating habits, change my lifestyle, and most importantly, change my exercise habits. But finding time to squeeze in some cardio or core strengthening can be hard and often takes time away from the family, which I didn't want to do. Nor did I want to pay for an expensive gym membership that I probably wouldn't use regularly.

So I came up with some ways to get a muscle burn and decent workout throughout my busy day. If you work from home like me, or are a stay-at-home parent, here are some things you can do to get a solid workout and burn some calories.

1. In the Kitchen

Calf Raises

The next time the microwave is on, do calf raises until you hear the beep. With your feet close together, simply raise your heels off the ground and slowly back down. Try not to let your heels touch the ground for the maximum burn. My calves got pretty darn strong doing this, a minute here and a minute there really adds up.

2. In the Bathroom


While the kids are in the bath, grab 10 quick push-ups on the bathroom floor. When I first started doing this, I had a hard time doing more than five so I modified the exercise by doing push-ups from my knees. After a couple weeks, I was able to throw in some standard push-ups as well. Once you are able to do more of them, switch to "sets" of push-ups. Three sets of 10, several times a week, will quickly strengthen your abs, backs, triceps, and core all while your child splashes in the tub.

3. In the Playroom

Arm and Chest Workout

When you have little kids, you inevitably end up hanging out with them in the playroom/family room after dinner. This is typically where the toys and games are located along with a place for you to sit and relax. Next time, before you chill out, look around for something you can curl with your arms. We had a Home Depot play barbecue that weighed about 20 pounds that I would curl several times a week. I'd start with 10 bicep curls, 10 tricep extensions, and 10 chest presses. You might look kind of silly, but as long as you're getting a good muscle burn, who cares?

4. In the Bedroom

Bed Plank

Every morning before rolling out of bed, do a one minute plank on the mattress. Start by laying on your stomach, then push yourself up and balance on your elbows, keep your back flat all the way down to your feet. A plank is one of the best exercises you can do for your core and engages your back, arms, shoulders, and hamstrings. Being on the mattress only increases your core engagement as it's a little more flexible than the carpet and requires better balance.

Bed Push-Ups

After you do your plank and make the bed, do 15 quick bed push-ups. While facing the bed, simply put your hands on the side of the bed and extends your feet away from it. Then do a push-up and try to bring your chest down far enough to touch the mattress. This is essentially a modified push-up that is quite a bit easier than a standard push-up. When I started doing this four-five times a week, I was able to increase my sets quickly and finally got up to three sets of 25.

5. In the Dining Area


When setting the table, I'd carry the plates and do leg lunges to the table, and back to the kitchen. My kids thought this was hilarious and actually started doing them with me which was a cool side effect.


With your hands at your sides, take a dinner plate in each hand and lift both arms straight out in front of you, then slowly back to your side. Then lift your arms directly out to your sides, and slowly back down. Start with 15 repetitions of each and your arms will burn like crazy.

6. In the Hallway

Stair Climbing

If you have stairs in your home, try jogging up them as quickly as you can. Focus on hitting every step with both feet to maximize your leg burn. If you're not ready to jog up the stairs, then walk up and down them twice when you're not in a rush to get somewhere.


When walking down the hallway consider doing "tires." Pretend there are car tires staggered down the hallway that you have to jump in and out of as you work your way to where you're going. I'd do this every time I was headed to my home office and it became a fun game. I'd also switch to fun things like high knees and butt kickers. High knees are when you jog and bring your knees up as high as you can, and butt kickers are when you try to hit your butt with your heels as you jog.

7. In the Front Yard

Run Anywhere

Our mailbox is about 500 yards away from our house, so I started jogging to it every day to get the mail. At first it sucked as it was all uphill coming back, but slowly I was able to build up my endurance and actually started jogging the route several times a day, two-three times per week. If you don't have a front yard, then start walking or jogging the neighborhood. Bring your kid(s) and let them ride their scooter or Big Wheel as you attempt to keep up with them.

Make Everything a Game

Once you start to build up your cardio endurance, start looking for reasons to get your heart rate up. Make up games with your kids that require some running or chasing and get everyone involved. You'll be amazed with how great you will feel, and if you eat right, the pounds will really start to shed.

The key is to be creative and find areas in your life where getting a quick muscle burn is possible. The more places you find, the more calories you'll burn, and the quicker your metabolism will fire up and really start burning the fat. Take it from someone who never thought it could be done, it absolutely can! Here I sit typing these words 40 pounds lighter, and the best part? I never paid a gym membership fee.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, even my "around the house" workout.

Do you have any other tips for finding unorthodox places around the house to get a quick workout?

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