Kids are natural yogis. They love stretching and aren’t afraid to look silly and get themselves into various yoga positions. Books such as Itsy Bitsy Yoga for Toddlers and Preschoolers or My Daddy is a Pretzel are great for both new-to-yoga parents and kids to look over as a start (Itsy Bitsy Yoga also has DVDs). Many areas now have family yoga classes, but yoga is a lot of fun at home too once you get the hang of basic positions. My 3 ½ year old son regularly requests doing “run around yogi” and being rolled up in a yoga mat like a little sushi, both from Itsy Bitsy Yoga. Now when my husband or I does a regular yoga DVD, he likes to participate in the poses that he knows best. Yes, hearing a tot say, “Yay! Trikonasana!” is as funny as you would guess. And while yoga is not meant to be competitive, kids will likely be proud that their little limber bodies can stretch further than ole Mom or Dad’s.
Take being a new parent in stride. Organized classes such as Stroller Strides let you meet other parents while you exercise and hang out with your babies. Even if you aren’t part of a group, look for places in your local area where you can take an extended walk such as a park or around the outskirts of a playground (or perhaps even around an indoor track at a local gym). While you may not want to make a habit of it, if your little one sleeps well in a stroller, replace his or her nap in a crib with one on the move. If you can’t fit in one long walk, sneak in a few shorter ones – taking the dog on an longer walk, walking to the grocery store instead of driving, etc.
Don’t let the snow deter your winter walking. Snowshoeing is a kick butt winter work out that’s really fun, and there are no slopes required. Unlike certain competitive winter sports, snowshoeing lets each person go at their own pace. Just getting off the couch and outside is a start. Think of everyone in the family like a dog (okay that sounded weird but follow me): dogs need their walks outside and so do all of you. Snowshoeing lets you all get safely out there in a way that will allow you to enjoy the natural, snowy beauty without being frozen – you’re guaranteed to work up a sweat while snowshoeing. Being outside can also help boost vitamin D levels and fend off seasonal depression.
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