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Friday, January 4, 2008

Working Out Preschool Style

Back when I first started this blog, I had a revelation that fitting exercise into my day was easiest if I did it with the kids. I'm not a 5am wakes-up-eager-for-the-sports-bra type of gal, and with kids who are mostly robin (i.e. often up before the sun), there's no real chance to exercise before they get up. And by the time they go to bed and the kitchen is clean, I'm typically so dog-tired that the only exercise I can muster is keeping both eyes focused on the TV at the same time. (What? This is actually harder than it sounds after 14 hours of crafts, feeding, mediating, cooking, laundry, and herding cats in and out of snow pants.)

So yesterday, I rediscovered that revelation. It was, after all, allll the way back in early November 2007, so far back my mommy brain can hardly recall, that I first realized this. And back then, the exercise was all about raking leaves while the kids jumped in the piles. Since then, the leaves have all gone, and the holidays have intervened. So it's reasonable that I'd sort of forgotten.

The fact that I had an absolutely smashing time three days ago shoveling the driveway and building a tobaggon ramp with Son should perhaps have reminded me. But I got all giddy from the tobaggon rides and sort of forget there was exercise involved. It's amazing how, when your kid looks up at you from the bottom of the hill, grinning with delight and dragging the tobaggon, and announces, "This is my favorite part of my day," and spontaneously dashes up the hill to give you a hug and say "I love you, mama," you just kind of forget everything else. It's like the blissful tunnel vision of your first high-school crush, but without any of the uncertainty and with far more gratification. (So now you know, I was most certainly not part of the popular crowd.) Anyway, two and a half hours of shoveling didn't remind me that exercising with the kids is so much better than trying to do it without them.

But last night's Bhangra dancing did. I'm here to tell you that if you have any sort of On Demand cable, you probably have much more fun exercise TV than you know about. All the adult programs are predictable -- yoga, pilates, kickboxing, step aerobics, blah, blah, blah. BUT did you know that there are kids versions of some of these too?! Versions with one grown up and a whole pack of little kids demonstrating? And these kid versions are endlessly fascinating to real, actual kids (at least to the ones in my house) because, after all, what boy doesn't want to look as buff as Billy Blanks? And who can resist the implication that by following the moves of the scrawny 8-year-olds in black tank tops, he too might turn out to be 200+ pounds of pure sculpted muscle?

And the latest discovery? Bhangra dancing for exercise. If you don't know what Bhangra is, watch this little video. Actually, watch it no matter what. It's great. And under a minute long.

Now, imagine this: we've shoveled away the new toys to clear a space in our family room. There's a lovely woman and four kids demonstrating basic Bhangra steps on our TV. We pick it up quickly. We can't sing, but we're coordinated like that. We're dancing, we're pumping our arms, we're doing the chicken elbows (the teacher's description), we're tapping our heels, we're walking forward with the cool thumping shoulder emphasis on each step. We are wearing our jammies. We get hot. Son takes off his pj shirt, and is now clad only in Spiderman-covered pants. Daughter (obviously) must get into this act, but because she is wearing one-piece footie jammies, she is now pumping her little chicken elbows and strutting around the room in only a diaper. We're dancing, oh, we are dancing. My braids are flying around; my flannel, striped jammies are fabulous. We are laughing, and we are dancing.

And after this 18-minute work out, we move on to the hip-hop hoola hoop workout (8 minutes of serious abs work, even if your hoola hoop is--like ours--invisible). We're in the warm-up phase of Tae Bo, marching and punching the air when Daddy arrives home for dinner.

I am sweaty, energized, and my abs and arms actually feel tired. 30 minutes of kids' exercise videos, complete with a 20-month-old diaper-clad Bhangra dancer and a three-year-old who can't stop admiring his own arm "bumps" (muscles)...my absolute favorite part of my day.


MultiplesMommy said...

This is AWESOME, MT! I want to Bhangra dance in my diaper too! Wait. I mean, in my jammies. Yes, that's what I meant. We have On Demand, but I've never seen exercise videos (perhaps because I've never looked; I am not, after all, an aerobics instructor, nor do I play one on TV) Where, or where, do I find them???

MIQuilter said...

that sounds AWESOME!!! Now I almost want to have a few kids so I can Bhangra dance with them!!! Ah well, I've felt like exercising the past couple days (which, in and of itself is SHOCKING) and haven't been able to fit it into my schedule :( Hopefully, tomorrow, I won't have 4 hours straight of meetings and can get a lunge in here or there.

MommyTime said...

MM, On our menu, you look under the kids' programming category, then choose the "fun fitness" category, and then there's a list of videos. They change pretty often. Both the Bhangra and the hip-hop hoola hoop are new offerings. I will record them because they were so fun. For grown ups, there's a whole Exercise category on the first page of O.D. choices. When you pick that, then there are a whole series of types of exercise choices. But nothing so fun as Bhangra!

Also, this was supposed to be tomorrow morning's post (you'll note the day/time stamp for tomorrow), but apparently setting the date/time ahead does not help you actually post the post the next day. Apparently, you can't do that on Blogger at all. :-( So, please just pretend you read this tomorrow morning!

Robin said...

That looks like so much fun!! I wish I had cable. We have sattelite, and there isn't any on demand, exercise stuff. It sounds like you had a great time and had a good workout, too.

My version is playing Dance Dance Revolution. My hubby got it for me for Christmas. Unfortunately, the kiddos are too young to play, but hubby and I pull it out after they go to bed. Man, is it a workout, but you are having fun, so you don't notice.

MommyTime said...

Ohh, Robin, we almost got DDR this year too, but opted for Rock Band instead. Excellent family (or crazy martini drinking new year's eve with friends) fun. Drums, two guitars, and a mike. Son wants to participate but isn't quite coordinated enough. He loves it anyway. I think DDR might be the next family game in our future.

workout mommy said...

I love this post!It sounds like you and the kiddos had great fun and a great workout too!

MommyTime said...

Thanks Workout Mommy! We did have a really good time. We've tried it once again since -- partly to get Daddy to take video of the kids. Of course, the second time around wasn't quite as entrhalling for the kids, who wanted to be doing puzzles rather than dancing on command. But I do think that when they are in the mood to "play exercising" as Son says, it's a perfect work out.


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