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Fitting in fitness when you have a family

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You rarely ask yourself during your days as a busy mom, “How do I reach my health and fitness goals?” You’re just trying to make sure you remember to pick up the kids, handle dinner, clean the house, and get to bed sometime before midnight. You feel like you have less and less time and energy to do the things you need to do, let alone the things you want to do.

Yet there are moms who somehow manage to fit exercise into their busy schedules. Well, so can you. You may think you don’t have any time to exercise but the reality is that there are opportunities everywhere…if you pay attention. All it takes is a little planning, some inspiration, and motivation to take that first step. That first step towards reaching your optimal health and fitness level can in turn help you have healthier relationships with our family and friends, possibly become more effective at your job, and be an even greater role model for your children. Being a happy, healthy, energetic role model for your children is one of the most important things you can do for them. You “do” for them all day so let’s “do” one more things for them and create some time in your crazy day to exercise and give them that healthy mom.

First there’s the main culprit…time itself. So the question is how do we find more time in your day to you can make fitness a priority? By shaving a few extra minutes here and there off your busy schedule we can turn them into a possible extra half hour to one for you to work out! So let’s make your day a little less complicated. These extra minutes that you make throughout the day can add up to give you an extra half hour or hour for some good cardio or several quick mini workouts. Don’t get stuck in the idea that it’s an hour or nothing. Two or three segments of ten or fifteen minutes can still get the job done. It adds up! One last point on time management is making your time count. Think about consulting a trainer. You’ve gone through a lot to make this hour happen so make it worth it. Get the results you want. Not only do you get to your goal faster, but you also have someone there making sure you WORK your butt off. Would your kids still go to school if you didn’t make them go and their teachers kept them there? Yeah right. You and I both know those smiling faces we get after school usually come from a new accomplishment, a new lesion, or a teacher pushing them further than they thought they could go. Your kids need their teachers and tutors. You might need your trainer to help you push your limits.

So now that you have created some extra time, what do you do with the kids? If you can’t exercise while the kids are at school, day care, or with a spouse, there are some other options. Ask another parent if you can trade off babysitting so each of you can get in a workout.

There are also a lot of child-friendly gyms in the area. You can see if any of the child-care time blocks work for you and your schedule. There are also some boot camps and even baby boot camps out there where you can bring your children with you (search online or ask a friend for more options). The easiest way to avoid the child-car issue is to fit it in by working out at home or even with your children.

Another issue is that creating “alone” time isn’t always possible when you have kids. So you are extending all this effort to making fitness a priority that fits in your schedule, but how do you find a way it fits into your KID’S schedule too. With a little planning you can find ways to incorporate workouts into the time you spend with your children, regardless of age. Here are some tips and strategies based on the age of your children…

Infant/Pre-School…

  • Fit in some home exercise while they nap. Exercise videos or small home equipment are both good options.
  • Grab the stroller and go for a walk or buy a jogging stroller with more flexibility to go at a faster pace.
  • For younger children, you can use a back carrier to carry them while walking. You will actually burn more calories with the added weight that will make it more challenging.
  • Use a infant carrier or a bike trailer and for a bike ride with your child.
  • Many gym and fitness/ recreation centers offer classes and programs for a new mothers AND their babies or infants. Check it out!

Grade School…

  • Spend an afternoon at the park where there’s a playground. Join the fun. Push your kids on the swing and perform squats in between pushes. Try a few pull-ups on the monkey bars or low bars. Push-ups, lunges, bench step-ups, and tricep dips are also great exercises you can do outdoors while your kids are playing.
  • Play catch with a ball, start a game of tag, hopscotch, or even kickball. Jump some rope. Keep them active and you’ll be active.
  • Involve your kids while you strength train. Let them count your reps out loud for you to check your rest time between sets. Some of my client’s children actually love this!
  • They get really into helping out and even performing some of the exercises they can do themselves, such as push-ups and some of the other core exercises.
  • When the kids are out riding their tricycles, bicycles, or skates, run behind! Or even chase them as they are learning, you will definitely break a sweat.
  • Some workout videos are actually geared towards children. While your child is doing the exercises, modify some of them to work for you!

Teenagers…

  • Purchase a family gym membership and workout together weekly.
  • Consider joining a community volleyball or softball team that encourages all ages.
  • Register for a charity walk or run and spend time training for it together.
  • Play tennis or basketball together.
  • Run the track during their sports practices.

For the working mom, you also have to squeeze in exercise whenever you possible can. Sometimes this means throughout your workday, which may be your only “break” from the kids, some suggestions…

  • Stairs. Do it. Always!
  • Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. You will strengthen your abs and back and burn calories while not even trying.
  • Use the restroom that’s furthest away from you or on another floor.
  • Leave something important in your car so you have to run out to get it.
  • Get a headset for your phone so you can walk around or do light exercise while making important business calls. You can do upper body exercises with resistance bands or light weights while people are on the speaker phone also.
  • Work with local personal trainers that can come to your work and give seminars. If you have a corporate gym, many will come out and work with you in groups. Hire one to come out on you lunch break to meet with you or you and your co-workers. Your company sometimes will even foot the bill!
  • Walk to lunch when you can.
  • Short periods of exercise throughout the day will help you burn more calories and reduce stress so you can smile at your boss as they pile more work on you and hopefully still be smiling on your way to pick up your kids.

For the stay at home mom…every errand counts. Make it happen with these tips…

  • Stairs. If they are in the house use them. A lot.
  • Walk when you can. Park further away when you can. Look for the longest route, not the shortest.
  • When loading groceries unload one bag at a time.
  • Start hobbies that make you move.
  • Look at chores as exercise. Do the most active once back to back for a full cleaning workout!
  • Walk the dog. Get outside!
  • While watching TV, do push ups, squats or crunches during commercials. Even two-minute intervals count.

 

[AUTHOR: Stacey]

January 10, 2015

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