Toddlers are notoriously active so, logically, you'd think that getting through a workout with them would be easy.
But, as we all know by now, nothing is logical when it comes to life with a toddler.
When you're stretched for time, and your little one constantly needs your attention and food-making skills … exercise can quickly drop in your list of priorities.
But it's so important to make time for your own health, even when you're a parent – especially when you're a parent. Research shows time and again that lots of movement is important for both our physical health and mental wellbeing.
Bec Wilcock is a Blackmores Wellbeing Coach, ultramarathon runner and mum, and she has these tips for working out with a toddler underfoot:
1. Make the most of park time
It's the destination that should keep you both happy, for different reasons: the park. "There are heaps of outdoor areas with basic equipment that you can use for pull-ups, pushups, burpees and box jumps," says Wilcock. "The best thing about body weight exercises such as these is that you don't need weights – and if you do, just pick up your bub!"
2. Get the right equipment
There's just one thing you need for a good workout. "Invest in a good stroller!" says Wilcock. "I end up taking (my son) Beau with me everywhere so having a good stroller that I can go running with that doesn't rattle around and wake him up is essential!"
3. Utilise your work out buddy
Always wanted someone to keep you accountable? Well, your toddler might just be the work out buddy you've been hoping for. Do some running races together, give them some really light weights to exercise with you, or encourage them to count your push ups.
4. The naptime run
When your little one stops, you can get going. "Schedule runs around nap time or witching hour," says Wilcock. "I often find the best time for a run with my son is during his nap so he can sleep, or witching hour when he might need the distraction."
5. Dance like no one's watching
Dancing is one of the best work outs there is – and, as a bonus, it's super fun too. Hit play on your favourite song, grab your toddler-sized dance partner and hold a mini disco at home.
6. A little distraction works wonders
Distraction: it's the oldest trick in the parenting book, and you can use it to get some exercise in. "Use music to motivate you, and entertain them," Wilcock says. "I put music on through my phone speaker and play it through the pram so that we can both hear it at the same time."
7. Go fast but hard
"If you can only spare 10 minutes a day, then consider using your pram for an intense HIIT workout," Wilcock suggests. "Pushing a toddler uphill is exactly like doing sleds training at the gym!"
Bec Wilcock will be running in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival on Sunday, 17 September. The festival includes four events: the Blackmores Sydney Marathon (42km) and the Blackmores Half Marathon (21km) are great for serious runners; for fun runners and families, there's the Blackmores Bridge Run (10km) and the Blackmores Family Fun Run/Walk (3.5km).