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Q:

How Can I Stay in Shape On Vacation with Young Kids?

Strengthen your glutes in a bridge position.     Photo: Thinkstock

Planks are good for you—and easy to do when the kids are around.

A:Keeping up with your fitness on a family vacation can be difficult. When your hometown gym is out of sight, it’s easy for it to be out of mind too. And even though vacation means a holiday away from grocery shopping and preparing meals, you'll probably be consuming more of those evil "hidden" calories that seem so prevalent in restaurant food. Plus, traveling with young kids means you're spending some significant time indoors, so that Junior can enjoy his naps. A week of fatty foods and little exercise isn't a winning duo.  

But there has to be a happy median between fitness and a fun vacation. After all, you're on a family vacation, with the intent of making sweet memories with your family rather than with the hotel treadmill or your food diary.

With this balance in mind, we've picked the brain of Kyle Toth, an AFPA licensed prenatal and postnatal exercise specialist and a mother herself. Here, she offers some advice for quick hotel-room workouts, some of which can even be done with the aid of your baby. All of these exercises can be completed within 20 to 30 minutes and in the confines of a hotel room. 

Planks 

"If your baby isn't mobile or will lay on their back under you, doing front planks and side planks is a great exercise," says Toth. In a front plank, you should hold your bodyweight up with your elbows and toes. She says that you want to make sure that you're keeping your shoulders over your elbows and your butt down so that your back is nice and flat. Your baby can lie underneath your planked body, so that you so you can interact with him or her. 

Leg Drops 

Leg drops are another one of Toth's favorite core exercises. To do a leg drop, you lie on your back and place both legs up in the air. Then, you'll drop one straight leg down to the ground and bring it back up. Alternate legs, so that one leg always stays up in the air. "You want to make sure you keep your back low to the ground, which will cause you to use your pelvic floor muscles," Toth says.  

Single Leg Lunges, Squats, and Glute Bridges

"If you want to strengthen and tone your glutes and quads, single leg lunges, squats, and glute bridges are the best way to do so," Toth says. "And you can do all of those while you hold your baby or with your own bodyweight." 

Push-ups and Baby Floor Presses 

Push-ups and baby floor presses will work both your arms and your core. Toth says, "If you can't do a push-up on the floor you can just elevate your arms on a couch or chair." To do a baby floor press, you can lay on your back and hold your baby in the air, bring the baby down to your face, touch your elbows to the ground and press the baby back up in the air. The heavier the baby, the fewer repetitions you'll want to do. 

Cardio

To end your workout, you should try to get your heart rate up. If a hotel room limits your cardio, you can do some burpees, line hops, squat jumps or plain old jumping jacks. 

Vacation Food

Because restaurant portions are usually way more than we need, Toth recommends asking for a to-go box right away and placing half of your meal in it for later. 

Safety Note

As with all exercise regimens, your doctor should give you the ok to exercise. And if you're going to be exercising with your babies, they should be at least ten weeks old to ensure proper head control. To be safe, you could check with your child's pediatrician before exercising with your little one. 

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