Working out when you have children can be rough, but I have found than when energy permits, it really can be done. Here are a few ways to keep fitness a priority in your household:
1. Videos-When kids are small, and sleep long hours during the day (if you are lucky), getting in a workout with a 20 minute video can be a real life saver. Even if they don’t sleep, if your child is like most, they probably have a 20 minute attention span for one of their devices such as a bouncer, swing, play yard, etc. Just pop them in one of these and, BAM! Use those 20 minutes to fit in time for you. Not only does it release a little stress, but it is quick, to the point, and gives you that time for yourself that you really need while still recovering to all the new things happening in your life. If your kids are older they may join in with you to do the video. As their schedule changes, you can always make adjustments as to when you pop in your video.
2. Chores– When doing things you are already doing like laundry or kitchen duties, there are at least dozen exercises that can be done at the same time. For example, while doing dishes at the counter you can do calf raises, squats, leg lifts to the side and back, hamstring curls, etc. When doing laundry, you are half way doing oblique twists, so make an exercise of it. Dance while vacuuming. If you have stairs, you can do an extra couple of trips, making it your “step class.” And if you are holding the little one just consider it extra resistance.
3. Taking walks/runs– This one was tough for me because my little one hated riding in the stroller or car seat, so walks were somewhat a torture for both of us because he would scream the entire time. However if I held him (with a carrier) then he would do a little better… extra resistance and sweat from body heat, but hey, it’s a workout right?! If you have older kids, let them run or walk a little too, not only is it good for them, but you may get some exercise just chasing them, haha! So in this case whatever works, but at least it’s a way to get out the house and get some much needed exercise.
4. Carrier– Bringing up the carrier reminds me that you can also pop the baby in one and do a few exercises while he/she in there. If your baby loves to be held or bounced, this will be a good one, because they will most likely fall asleep. Do some squats, lunges, and since your hands are free, grab some weights and add some upper body exercises like bicep curls and shoulder raises. If you find that some days you don’t want to do that, turn on some kid friendly music and dance around. Even if you have older kids/toddlers, music and dance is fun for everyone, and a great way to get moving! They will enjoy this as much as you!
5. Playground– this applies to those with kids old enough to play at the play yard safely enough that you can “play” as well. Remember doing the monkey bars as a kid?! It was fun wasn’t it?! Hop on and get playful! Not only will you get a great arm and back workout, you will get cardio as you climb up the ladders, and chase your kids around the grounds!
6. Playing sports– Again, this applies to those whose kids are a little older… Soccer, touch football, swimming on a hot day, playing Frisbee, or badminton, roller-blading/ roller-skating, bike riding, etc.. These are all fun things that will keep the whole family engaged, in shape, and having fun!
As a child I remember doing ALL of these activities with my parents. I did Jane Fonda with my mom during the summertime, and then we would go swimming after! On weekends we would riding our bikes at the beach, or the canals to feed the ducks, or take the dogs for a walk to the dog park. These memories and activities set me up for a lifetime of enjoyment and desire for fitness, health, and being active. It kept us healthy by just having fun. So think of all the wonderful things you are teaching YOUR children by giving them the opportunity to learn through and with you with your healthy habits!