Being in lockdown with little ones is interesting isn’t it?! I am so very grateful for our one approved outing per day, in the form of daily exercise. But what do you do when you have little ones, and the daily excursion is getting a little boring? Here are 11 ways to improve your daily exercise during COVID-19.
Not so long ago, hearing the word “Corona” would most likely have evoked images of palm trees and music festivals. And of course, beer. Fast forward to today and it’s a completely different story. Can you even remember the last time you had an adult conversation that wasn’t somehow connected with this pandemic?
Nope, me neither.
Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.
I’m sure you’ve seen this little slogan countless times. On podiums during governmental updates. Plastered across people’s windows. I’ve even seen it written in chalk on the pavement outside someone’s house. (This struck me as a little ironic. Surely the person must have gone outside to leave the message encouraging others to stay inside).
The fact of the matter is, our world has changed. It’s not the same place we lived in even three weeks ago.
When did the phrase “one form of exercise a day” become such a lifeline to so many? If you’re anything like me, the closest you come to exercising, involves putting your toddler in and out of the car seat. Multiple times a day.
And yet here we are, two weeks into “lockdown” mode, suddenly looking forward to, and planning our day around, this government approved form of exercise. An almost sacred opportunity to get out of the house and get outside.
Maybe you’re one of those amazing mums out there, embracing the ‘slower pace of life.’ Finding time to start a new hobby, deep clean the house, or enjoy quiet walks in the country. Or maybe you’ve finally started writing that novel you’ve been dreaming of for so long.
If you just laughed when you read that, maybe you’re more like me, and finding life busier than ever.
Did I mention that I now have two pre-schoolers at home full time? In addition to this, there’s no childcare, baby groups, play dates, or park outings to look forward to. That novel will have to wait.
Suddenly the idea that I’m “allowed” to go out for exercise each day is music to my ears. Think Julie Andrews, a wide open field, and “the hills are alive with the sounds of music….” blaring, and you get a glimpse of how happy I am to get outside.
Do you want to make the most of your daily exercise, but feel limited as to what can be done? I feel your dilemma. I found the current [and very important] restrictions set out by the government, plus having two small children along for the ride, meant the scope of my “exercise” was a bit limited.
And simply going for a walk every day? It kind of sounded a bit… dull.
After only two days of these government sanctioned walks, I realised I needed to spice things up a bit. To keep these outings interesting for all involved, they had to evolve from just a standard walk around the block.
And they did.
So I made some changes. I tweaked the routine. I found there are lots of ways improve your daily exercise during COVID-19.
Here are 11 ways to improve your daily exercise during COVID-19. All tried and tested by me and my little people. I hope you find them helpful.
11 ways to improve daily exercise during COVID-19
This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that at no cost to you I get paid some commission if you make a purchase through one of my links. You should know I ONLY recommend products that I have personally USED and LOVE, and that I think you’ll love too! My disclosure policy is a bit boring, but if you want to read it, you can find it here.
1. Count the rainbows
I don’t know where this idea originated. Yet somehow, the idea of drawing a rainbow and sticking it up in your window has really taken off. I credit the positive power of social media for this. I believe the idea behind it is simply to brighten up the day of any pedestrian who sees it.
And I must admit, I love it!
Of all the things you could display in your window, a rainbow is one of the best.
I’m sure that rainbows mean different things to different people. For us, a rainbow is a beautiful reminder that God is faithful. And this gives us hope. It’s also really colourful, and we could all use a bit more colour in our lives.
One of the 11 ways to improve daily exercise during COVID-19, is to count the rainbows as you walk. Sometimes we set challenges of how many rainbows we are hoping to see on our walk.
Our record is 34!!
- beautiful reminders that God is faithful
- strangers who brightened up our day with their artwork
- small distractions as we exercised
And if you walk past our house, you’ll see our own creative attempts on display. I hope they cheer up your walk.
2. Take teddy on an adventure
Another way to improve daily exercise during COVID-19 is to take a little explorer along with you.
Allow me to introduce you to Zoe’s beloved reindeer, Fudge. Fudge was getting a little stir crazy lying on the floor of Zoe’s room day after day, and decided that he would like to join us for exercise one day.
We had such a giggle taking photographs of Fudge as we walked the familiar streets of our neighbourhood. You can tell by the huge smile and wide eyes in the pictures below, that he was enjoying exercising with us.
What a great way to mix up our outing.
I would love to see pictures of your favourite little explorers, so please share away.
3. Change where you walk
I’m sure it goes without saying that if you do the same circuit of the block every single day, it’s going to get very old very quickly. Changing where you walk is an easy way to improve your daily exercise during COVID-19.
Where I live, there are lots variations we can make to our daily walk, whilst still sticking to our small little residential area. If you’re planning on counting the rainbows as you walk, it helps to mix up the route anyway. Otherwise you’re just going to see the same number of rainbows every day. Where’s the fun in that.
There are also some great woods about 2 minutes walk from our house! And it’s one of our new favourite places to go. There are plenty of things for us all to explore. And lots of different games and challenges we have found to do in the woods.
And the woods are so large, that even when we come across a dog walker or joggers, there’s plenty of space for social distancing.
4. Make a video call while you’re out
One of our favourite ways to improve daily exercise during COVID-19, is to make a video call whilst we’re out.
We’re all missing Grandma.
Having a video call with her while we’re out is the next best thing to actually going for a walk with her. This helps us all stay that little bit more connected during the lockdown. The girls love to chat with her and show her the things they have been collecting on their walk, or excitedly tell her about their day so far.
It also has the double benefit of giving the little ones something different to focus on while we’re out for our exercise. This helps to mix things up a bit, giving some variety to our daily excursions.
5. Run an errand
Maybe your daily walk doesn’t have to be purely for the purpose of getting some fresh air. Or getting out of your husband’s way so he can teach a piano lesson online. (Shameless plug for my husband’s online tutoring business there).
Having an errand to run while you’re out, provides a nice focus for leaving the house. Don’t underestimate how helpful it can be to tell your little ones you’re running an errand, rather than just going out.
A slightly more benevolent ways to improve your daily exercise during COVID-19., is to post letters or delivered groceries (to a doorstep of course) while you’re out.
In my opinion, now is a great time to get into making and/or writing cards. Zoe and Sophia really love to colour and make things. Couple this with the many people feeling lonely or isolated. What a blessing to be able to create something and then post it to them.
At the moment, our wonderful postal workers are still working. So why not go old school and pop something in the post. Trust me, it will brighten up someone’s day to hear from you like this.
6. Visit a friend
Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting popping round for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Although doesn’t that sound lovely? We all know that’s not allowed for the time being, and we’re complying.
But how about thinking a little outside of the box?
Another way we have found to improve daily exercise during COVID-19 , is to pass by a friend’s house during our daily walk. This can be pre-arranged, and could coincide with dropping off groceries if needed. My 4 year old was so happy to see her friend who’s been in isolation for 3 weeks.
We’re all grateful for Facetime, Whatsapp video call, Zoom, Houseparty or whatever else you’re using to stay connected with the outside world. Having said that, it’s so nice to see someone’s face outside of the confines of a tiny screen. And even if it’s only for a few minutes (little ones are not always the best conversationalists after all), it’s a beautiful way to improve daily exercise during COVID-19..
7. Stick up pictures on lamp-posts or trees
My mum lives by herself, and her daily exercise is walking her lovely dog, Izzy. One of the things that she has enjoyed during COVID-19 lockdown is seeing pictures of rainbows (and other things) stuck up on trees.
Check out these beautiful works of art from her daily walk. Amazing.
I thought decorating our exercise route was a great way of improving daily exercise during COVID-19. So I equipped my little ones with paper and crayons and soon they were creating even more rainbows ready to stick them up on our next walk through the woods.
We added our colourful pictures on our last visit to the woods. On our walk back home a friendly dog walker asked (from a distance) if the rainbows were something we had put up. She found them a lovely addition to her dog walk through the woods, and said they had really brightened her day.
We only added three rainbows to the woods this time round, because that is all we’d made, but we’ve already made some new ones ready to decorate the woods some more next time we go.
The girls really enjoyed the process of making the rainbows and also seeing them on display. This was a really nice way to improve our daily exercise during COVID-19 . Not only benefiting us, but others as well.
(I’m not going to lie, they were also quite helpful signposts to me that we were on the right path to getting home again).
8. Collect something
Whether it’s sticks, pretty stones, colourful leaves or daisies, there are plenty of things that can be collected when you’re out and about with little ones. And my girls LOVE to be on the look out of things and proudly show me what they have discovered as we walk.
Last time we were in the woods, we were on the lookout for the biggest sticks or branches we could find. You can see out efforts below.
Next time, we’ll mix it up a bit by taking a bag with us and collecting some sticks, leaves and pine cones and seeing what we can create when we get home. I might be looking to Pinterest for some inspiration as I’m really not the artsy type. I’m sure we can find something useful, or at least fun and creative to do with our precious finds.
If you’re creative, and you can think of something interesting we could create out of bits and bobs from the woods, please let me know in the comments below.
Obviously, we all washed our hands very thoroughly when we got home. But we’re all doing that rigorously now anyway, aren’t we?
And if collecting random bits of dead tree does not appeal to you, how about counting the number of blue cars you find on your walk, or being on the lookout for a bus that actually has some passengers on it. Think outside the box to find something that works for you.
9. Play games
There are lots of games that we played inside that can easily be transferred outside. Playing games outside is a great way to improve daily exercise during COVID-19 . To date, we’ve played more rounds of eye spy than I care to count, but it’s a good way of getting little ones to engage with their surroundings.
My 4 year old loves to play a few [hundred] rounds of eye spy. At the moment, she’s not so good at the traditional version of eye spy, so we mostly play colour eye spy, i.e. “eye spy with my little eye, something that is blue.”
But we do attempt the more familiar letter version every now and again, a great opportunity to practise her alphabet. There’s also a numbers version we’ve played a few times.
Maybe your little ones aren’t very keen on this particular game. But think about what games they do like to play, and consider this could work outside.
10. Take some chalk with you and leave messages on the pavements
A friend from Zoe’s pre school told me that she had left a pot of chalk outside her house for children to leave messages for each other on their walks. Genius. Another fantastic way to stay connected that doesn’t involve a small screen, and a great way to improve your daily exercise during COVID-19 .
To be honest, if we left a pot of chalk outside our house, I’m sure it wouldn’t be there in the morning. But today, after our walk, we did decorate the pavement outside our house. Unfortunately, both my daughters take after me in the artistic department. Grimace. But they like to have a go, and who am I to curb their creative outlet?
We had some chalk in our cupboard which we used, but if you don’t, it’s pretty cheap to buy, and you can get some here.
11. Stop and have a sing song
If all else fails, little ones generally love a good old sing song.
Yesterday, during a particularly heartfelt rendition of “If you’re happy and you know it” which included star jumps, spinning around and touching our toes, a fellow “exerciser” joined in as she walked past from a distant.
And let’s face it, there aren’t loads of people outside these days, so if you’re voice isn’t as amazing as mine (cough cough) and you’re feeling a little self conscious about belting out the tunes with the kids, don’t worry about it. The chances are that you won’t see another fellow human being on your outing. And if you do, I’m sure they will be entertained and not horrified, and you will have succeeded in bringing a little bit of sunshine into their life.
Okay, maybe I may have over-egged that last point, but you catch my drift. What is it they say:
“Dance like no one’s watching. Sing like no one’s listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt.”
I dare you.
So there you have it: 11 ways to improve your daily exercise during COVID-19 . These are just my ideas of course. I’m sure you have loads of ideas yourself and I would love to hear how you are making the most of your exercise while we still have this liberty.
Stay safe and look after yourselves and your loved ones.
Big hugs to you,