By Rachel Jones | Photographs by Michael Fornataro
Just a few months after my adorable nephew, Luke, was born, my sister was already coming up with “mommy-and-me” workouts for them to do together. Whether it was lifting him above her head or holding him while she did squats, each exercise left him in a fit of giggles and her with burning muscles.
These engaging exercises are great ways to break a sweat and build a special bond between families. Jennifer Ferris-Glick can attest to that. The owner of the soon-to-be-opened Exhale Pittsburgh and mother of Olliver, 3, and twins Otto and Wolf, 6 months, shows her flexibility on the yoga mat and in her ability to combine play time for her boys and workout time for mommy. “When it comes to exercising with your family, particularly your small children, it’s really about two things: the family bonding, since things often don’t go as planned, and setting a good example early in life so that living a healthy lifestyle comes as second nature,” she says.
We asked the energetic family to demonstrate fun, easy workouts that fitness experts across the Pittsburgh area suggested for parents and children to try together. Try them out with your family, too!
Ellie Calgaro, trainer at FASTER, suggests doing these body-weight exercises with baby:
1. Lay your baby – or babies, in Jennifer’s case! – on the floor, face up.
2. Lower yourself into a push-up, give a little smooch, and push yourself back up.
1. Hold your baby against your stomach.
2. Raise up onto your tip toes, then slowly lower your heels back down to the floor.
1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Seat your baby on your belly.
2. Drive through your heels, squeeze the glutes, and lift your hips up into a bridge.
3. Lower yourself back down.
1. Hold your baby at your chest. (You can settle him or her into a stroller, too!)
2. Lunge forward, bending your front knee to 90 degrees and keeping it behind your toes.
3. Bring your feet back together, and repeat with the opposite leg.
+ Tip: If you’re doing this while holding your baby, be sure to engage your abdominal muscles and keep good posture to support your back.
Jodi Butler, owner and coach of Pittsburgh FIT, recommends:
1. Assume the position of a bear (crawling with your hands and feet), crab (scooting with your feet in front of you and hands behind you, keeping your seat off the floor), or lizard (similar to a bear crawl but lower to the ground).
2. See who can make it across the yard or living room the fastest!
Chris Anthony, owner of Chris Anthony Fitness, recommends:
Tic Toc: Red light, Green Light
1. Stand up straight, facing your child. One person will be the leader, the other the follower.
2. The leader starts by saying, “Green light!” and performing tic-tocs. Raise your right leg to the right side as high as you can, then return it back to the floor. Immediately raise your left leg to the left side as high as you can, then back down again.
3. When the leader says, “Yellow light!” repeat the same tic-toc movement, only much slower.
4. When the leader says, “Red light!” everyone stops. Can you balance on one leg? Do your best!
Exhale Pittsburgh, 222 Boulevard of the Allies, Downtown. 412.573.9642. exhalepittsburgh.com. FASTER, 4898 Campbells Run Road, Robinson Township. 412.489.6036. performfaster.com. Pittsburgh FIT, 201 N. Braddock Ave., East Side. 412.445.2154.pittsburghfit.com. Chris Anthony Fitness, 6901 Lynn Way, North Point Breeze.412.292.1045. chrisanthonyfitness.com.