This is for all my readers that are blessed with a child or two or ten. However many munchkins you have, there is one important thing to remember: Exercising should be a high priority! Oh sure, of course it is but how can I manage to work out AND care for my kids?!?! Alright, Negative Nelly, let me finish! Exercising *should be* a high priority but it can get shoved to the side very easily, especially if you are a parent. With school, all the extracurricular activities, and other obligations, it can feel very much like a juggling act. What's on your calendar? Your son's hockey game? Your daughter's ballet class? A parent/teacher conference at school? Have you thought about putting "Exercise" on the calendar too...? You haven't?! Why not?!
Exercising not only benefits you but also your kids. First of all, you are setting a good example. If your kids never see physical activity or only hear you complain about how sore you are from a workout, their image of exercising will quickly become negative. Let them know WHY you are exercising: to be strong, to be healthy, to have more energy, etc. Secondly, exercise can be a great outlet for stress. Exercise can emotionally remove you temporarily from a stressful environment or situation. Being fit and healthy also increases your ability to deal with stress as it arises. And finally, for the fun third reason, wouldn't it be nice to be a "hot mom"? Maybe get a few
Now we have figured out that exercise IS something we want to do, right? So, let's figure out the "how"...
Got an infant or smaller child?
*Utilize nap time to pop in a workout DVD, On Demand workouts on tv, or do your own home workout. I posted about some great "at home" workouts awhile back. You can read more here.
*Get out the stroller and take a brisk walk through the neighborhood. Check out this cool workout for stroller pushers.
*Use your child's weight to strengthen your muscles. Pick them up and do squats for a fun lower body workout. Arm curls with an infant = great upper body workout.
Got a child in grade school?
*Go to the playground but instead of sitting on the bench, chatting with other parents, get out and enjoy the day. Play tag, hide and seek, capture the flag. Try doing a chin up or two on the monkey bars or some tricep dips on the "lazy Mom's bench".
*Plan a weekend day to bike or roller blade with your kids and spouse. Getting the whole family involved in physical activity is a ton of fun and makes for an early bedtime, in my experience.
*Challenge your child to a race. And don't be too sad when you get beaten. Someday, you'll be able to run as fast as them, I promise... ;)
Got a teenager?
*Register for a 5K race with your child. For local races here in Pittsburgh, check out this site.
*Work together in the yard. Mowing, raking leaves, trimming hedges, and planting flowers are all excellent calorie burners. And you know what they say, a family that works together...ummmm...gets a lot done.
*Play basketball or tennis together.
Now that you have a list of things to do with your child and will start scheduling time to exercise, I hope to never hear any excuses about how being a parents is preventing any of you from working out. Good luck, readers!