For busy parents, incorporating a fitness routine into an already jam-packed schedule often seems impossible. In spite of the challenges, the benefits of maintaining this important healthy habit are well worth the effort. Regular exercise increases your stamina, which is ideal for keeping up with your energetic little ones. It can also boost your mood and help you to relax. Best of all, it can lower your risk of developing serious health conditions both in the short term and in the long term. Here are a few helpful tips for finding creative ways to stay active in spite of your bustling family life.
Exercise with Your Children
Parents who exercise provide a great example for their kids. When they see you being active, they’ll consider physical activity to be a normal part of life. Making your workout routine a family time also eliminates a need to find a babysitter, which is one of the main reasons parents forgo exercise. You can swim with your kids in the backyard or at a local community pool. Running around with them at a local playground is another great activity your kids will love. Not only will you be getting exercise, you’ll be making great memories. If you want to do something more structured, you could volunteer to help out with your child’s sports team or simply teach them to play a sport you enjoy, such as basketball or tennis. During those cold winter days, you could pop in a fun exercise DVD and work out together, or blast some peppy music and dance with your kids. Those with young children or infants can get a workout by taking their kids on long walks. Even parents of multiples can get in on the action by choosing a double stroller that will accommodate walking or jogging with more than one child along for the ride.
Strive for Shorter Workouts
Rather than exercising for 45 minutes straight you can work around your family’s schedule by working out in short ten or 15-minute increments. These could be done at regular intervals, such as first thing in the morning, or right after dropping off your children at school, or whenever it best works with your unique lifestyle. These mini-workout sessions seem more doable for busy moms and dads than taking an hour to go to the gym.
Find Clever Ways to Add Physical Activity throughout your Everyday Routine
There’s no unwritten rule that says you have to do a formal workout to stay in shape. In fact, there are plenty of opportunities for physical fitness you can take advantage of each day as you go about your life. For example, for shorter errands and social activities, walk or bike rather than drive. Make a habit of using the stairs instead of elevators or escalators at stores, work, or doctor’s appointments. If you work a sedentary job, consider getting a desk that can convert to a standing desk so you can walk in place for part of the day while you work. When you’re at home, move around doing your chores at a brisk pace. For example, when you’re folding clothes, putting laundry away, weeding the garden, or cleaning, put forth an effort to pick up the pace. Not only will you get your work done faster, you’ll be multitasking and reaching your fitness goals more rapidly as well.
Network with Other Parents who Share Your Commitment to Fitness
There is strength in numbers. When you surround yourself with other people in your same stage of parenting who are determined to stay physically active, you can encourage one another on your journey toward better health. You could seek out a fitness group at your local community center. Offer to exchange babysitting time with other parents so you can all find the time work out. Find friends with kids who like to go hiking, biking, swimming, or engage in other fun family activities. Then set up regular times to partake of these types of group exercise sessions together.
Staying active when you have a family can require thinking outside the box. As a parent, you learn to juggle all kinds of responsibilities. Dropping your fitness routine may seem tempting when you’re busy, but it’s crucial to keep moving in order to stay healthy. By adding these habits to your routine you can balance parenthood with fitness for a happier, healthier lifestyle.