By Steph Prem
The past few months have seen fam-bams juggle work and school from their kitchen counters and dining room tables, and while restrictions across the country begin to ease, there is still a need to adapt to a new type of normal. On top of this, removing the commute to work for parents, and kids from group sports, the need to keep active has never been more important.
To help families keep active for a healthy body and mind (particularly in the colder months) here is my 15-minute home workout, plus some mindfulness exercises.
Fun Family Workout at Home
All you’ll need is a ball! For kids this could be a soccer ball or blow-up ball, parents can use an exercise or pilates ball.
1 // First things first, warm up
Ahead of any workout, it’s important for the family to have a quick warm-up and stretch to get your body kick-started. An easy one to do at home is to start with a light jog on the spot, either on an exercise mat or on your carpet at home. If your kids like a little more movement to get started, try doing the wiggle with your arms and legs, followed by skipping with a ‘make believe’ skipping rope by bouncing up and down for 20 seconds.
2 // Squat and Throw
Grab your ball and squat. When you come up from your squat, throw your ball above your head and catch it. Repeat this and try to do as many as you can! If you’re a beginner, try to get up to ten. This is a great one to build on each week – as well as challenge the kids to beat last week’s score.
3 // Single Leg Toe Taps
Place your ball still on the ground in front of you. Then, tap your toe on the top of the ball, aiming to keep the ball as still as possible. Repeat this for ten rounds, swapping each tap with the other leg.
4 // Squat Jumps
Leave the ball on your mat (or carpet), centred. Run around to one side and then squat and jump over the ball, followed by four star jumps. Turn to face the ball, and do the same on the other side – up and over. Try to do this six times, and make sure to roll your shoulders after to release any tension.
5 // Warrior Pose
Take the ball into one hand, turn your big toe out and lunge, reaching out into a warrior pose. Lift up to the sky with the ball, swap hands, turn your other foot’s big toe out and lunge into another warrior pose on the opposite side. Repeat this eight times. To spice things up, get the family to do a competition on the best warrior pose, including best (or toughest) warrior faces!
6 // Toe Touches
Take the ball down to your mat, and place right under your mid-back (like you’re lying on a beach chair). Then, reach up and touch your toes, tapping each time with the opposite hand. Do this eight times and once completed, slowly sit up.
Once you’ve finished all six exercises, have some water and wriggle your body out, shake it up and down, and repeat another round of each!
Once you’ve finished your 10-minute workout, it’s time to relax your body and mind with some meditation and stretching. Move your ball out of the way ahead of getting started.
1 // Mermaid Tail
Make a mermaid tail with your legs by kneeling down on your mat, and placing your legs on one side. Sit up nice and then place your inner arm down and reach the outside hand up and over. Take the outside arm down, and repeat lifting your inner arm over. Once you’ve finished four of these, place your mermaid tail the other way and repeat.
2 // Cat, Cow Stretch
Place all fours on your mat for the cat, cow stretch. For the cat, round your spine so your head is heading towards the floor and then lower your back and reach your chest out towards the sky, like a cow. Repeat this five times. For the younger kids, try this with matching animal sounds!
3 // Child’s Pose
Place your knees nice and wide on the end of your mat. Then walk your hands out in front of you, lower your back and take a big deep breath while stretching your hands as far as you can. Repeat this six times while breathing in and out.
4 // Breathing
The last one on the list and one of the most important in mindfulness is breathing exercises. Finish by sitting cross-legged, place your hands on your knees, straighten your posture and close your eyes. Inhale deeply, hold for a few seconds, and exhale. Try using your arms also, by taking a big breath in and lifting your arms over your head, then breathing out and lowering your arms back to the ground. For the family, try doing this and thinking of some of your favourite things, or try sending yourself or others love and kindness, by breathing it in and a big exhale out.
Steph Prem is a Medibank Live Better at Home Program ambassador and health and wellness expert. Check out Steph’s free workout vids for Mat Pilates, Stretch and Restore, Barre Pilates and Family Pilates.