When my kids were babies and toddlers, I stayed at home with them every day. During the warm, pretty days it was easy to go to the park so they could play and I could get some exercise. I would push a double stroller and carry one in the snuggly while I walked the huge trail at Milennium Park with a friend. But when the weather turned cold, I had to get a bit more creative.
Since I was on a really tight budget, I had to look around to find some pretty cheap ways to get the gym experience for FREE.
How to get the Gym Experience for FREE
I discovered quite a few ways to give the kids some room to run and play and for me to get my walking in. Most of these ideas were born out of some very desperate days when the duplex walls would start to cave in as we would have yet one more rainy, cold winter day. Here is where I suggest you start looking!
Check your local churches
Do you attend a church that has a gym? Call them first! Ask if they have a day of the week where they open the gym for members or the public to come and run, walk or shoot ball? Some of them have certain days for moms and preschoolers. Most of these churches don’t charge a fee. They just want to offer this to the community. If you don’t attend a church with a gym, then get brave and start calling every single church that has a gym. If they don’t have a program like that, suggest it to them as an outreach.
Call your School Principal
Some schools might be willing to open their gymnasium to Moms with preschoolers/babies or other Moms in the community who want to run laps around the gym. You say that you need a larger track? Of course not! I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I would walk laps around a local gym trying to get in enough steps for the day. The small gym is perfect for the kids to run and play while you walk. Bonus: You’re never far away from them if they need you!
Contact the Salvation Army
We have a Salvation Army with a gym in our town. They open it for after school programs to the kids in the community. But during the morning hours, it sits basically empty. They have several days a week that you can go and walk, play a pick up game of ball or let the kids run. Call them! If they don’t have a program, offer to bring some canned food in exchange for a chance to walk or run!
The Salvation Army near us even allowed my kids to play with the balls and equipment on the open gym days. My kids loved being able to go into the equipment room and pick out any ball they wanted! What a treat!
What do you for exercise when the weather turns cold? Got any tips to add to this list? I’d love to hear!