Five ways to get an outdoor workout while managing a toddler

Five ways to get an outdoor workout while managing a toddler

I have to admit. I see all these moms on Instagram accounts finding a way to make their fitness work around their toddlers and I’m always inspired but also amazed. I just can’t seem to get exercise together throughout the day while running after my daughter, working through her moods, and trying to get computer work done. My husband is in car sales and gets home late more times than not, which means it’s hard to plan my workout. I’m usually just trying to finish things when he gets home or finally sit down!

Then there is this struggle when I take my kiddo for a walk — she won’t get in the stroller. She screams and arches her back, making it difficult to get her in it and after all that, why would I want to? She deserves to be active, too. So today when that happened I just had to take what I could get. I decided to GET creative and it worked. We don’t have a playground or backyard which adds to the challenge if I just don’t want to pack her up and drive to one. But if you have this same dilemma, here’s a few ideas if you want to get active outside with your toddler while ensuring that you get your heart rate up.


1.) Find places to stair step.

Our apartment complex has a vast walkway but it’s not easy keeping Miah on task with just walking. She wants to throw rocks in the canal and play with everything on the ground she can find. So while she goofed off on a low landscaping ledge, I stepped up and down it like a stair master.  Of course she got frustrated that she couldn’t mimic me exactly, but at least I got my blood pumping for five minutes. 

2.) Make it a competition. 

There is a simple set of stairs outside our pool and I just hadn’t really noticed them. We’ve only been here about a month. Well today I spotted them as an opportunity to run up and down and egg my little warrior on to catch me. I not only got a tiny workout in this way but also Miah got to continue her practice of stairs in a safe way. When she got a little overwhelmed or just simple OVER the stairs, she moved on to the grassy incline next to them so we continued our chase there. 


3.)  Keep it fun.

At some point in our walk Miah will get fussy about what she wants to do or she gets distracted. This time around I kept making stupid moves and said “parkour!” as if I knew what I was doing. I felt very Broad City. Ha! Whatever it takes, right?! I also created little cheers for her as she made her way up and down the stairs. When we were done and she wanted to wander off again, I lifted her up into the sky and used her as a dumbbell while she giggled and squealed.

4. When all else fails, carry and walk.

Even though this seems pretty obvious, I really had to reframe my thinking. When Miah slows down my walks, I pick her up and put her on my hip. I don’t use a sling or carrier because that’s a lot of maneuvering in and out. Instead, as I walk with her on my hip, I’m aware of the extra weight giving me more resistance and I switch sides. You just have to be sure you aren’t leaning to one side. This is to avoid imbalance or injury. It’s probably not IDEAL but you gotta do what works so you can reach your goals. 

5.) Keep it short.

Don’t overdo. Keep your adventure 20-30 minutes — tops. You know that attention span threshold isn’t big! Plus you don’t need to wear yourself out on the aspects of the walk that aren’t fitness-related like trying to keep your kid from eating a snail shell! Dirt? Maybe. But I do have my limits! (I’m only kind of kidding...)

Well, that’s about it! This may all seem simple but a mother’s tired brain sometimes fails her and I honestly hadn’t thought of things this way until today. If you’re like me, I hope this helps! Whatever you do though, find a way to stop the excuses. Make it work for you!

“And though she be but little...”

“And though she be but little...”