You want to burn some calories and get in shape, and chasing your toddler around the playground isn't cutting it. However, your clingy toddler might not leave you with much free time to hit the gym and focus on yourself. Rather than ditching the exercise idea altogether, find a way to work out with your clingy little one. In fact, your toddler is not too young for a little exercise of her own -- the National Association for Sport and Physical Education reports that toddlers should engage in 30 minutes of structured physical activity and 60 minutes or more of unstructured physical activity.
Hit the Road
You don't have to have a gym membership, complete with childcare for your toddler, to bump up your heart rate and burn some calories. A jogging stroller is a smart investment for parents of toddlers. These three-wheel strollers are designed for runners, allowing you to push your toddler as you jog through your neighborhood or a nearby park. Your toddler will enjoy a comfortable ride, and you won't find pushing him to be particularly difficult, but you'll get a serious workout with your toddler in tow.
Think outside of traditional exercise, and discover ways to incorporate your toddler into your daily exercise routine. You can work up a sweat alongside your little one in your backyard, giving you both that all-important dose of daily exercise. Play a rousing game of tag with your toddler. Set up an obstacle course in the backyard, and challenge your toddler to try it out with you. Take the dog on a brisk walk around the block every evening with your toddler's help. She'll be having too much fun to worry about clinging to you, and you'll both get some exercise.
Sign Up for a Class
If your toddler enjoys the structure of an organized class, a parent-and-me exercise class might offer several benefits for both of you. Your local community center or yoga studio might offer exercise classes that you can take together, from Pilates and yoga to gymnastics. In addition to keeping both you and your toddler physically active, these classes can help your clingy guy socialize with other parents and kids and perhaps even loosen his grip on your hand -- both figuratively and literally.
Swimming is a low-impact workout that is highly effective. While you might not be able to swim laps a la Michael Phelps with your toddler on your back, you can still get a workout with your toddler swimming beside you. Sign up for parent-and-me swim lessons at your local community center. Or, if your toddler has already perfected her swimming skills, swim some easy laps with her and practice treading water to give both of you an effective workout.
- KidsHealth: Fitness and Your 2- to 3-Year-Old
- HealthyChildren.org: Emphasis on Exercise
- National Association for Sport and Physical Education: Active Start: A Statement of Physical Activity Guidelines for Children From Birth to Age 5, 2nd Edition
- Consumer Reports: Stroller Buying Guide
- WebMD: Take the Plunge: Get Into Swimming
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images