Let’s face it: raising children is as exhausting as it is rewarding, and you need all the energy you can summon to keep up with the little ones. Functioning as the primary caregiver for your grandchildren or your own children brings a seemingly endless stream of distractions and surprises that can make it difficult to exercise and stay fit.
If you have enough time to visit the gym regularly, count yourself lucky and keep up the good work. If you struggle to fit exercise into your day, all hope is not lost.
Just because you don’t spend an hour every day at the gym does not mean you can’t stay healthy. If you can make time just a few days a week for some physical activity, you’re already ahead of the game. There are plenty of opportunities available; you just have to know where to look.
Here are three great ways to exercise without adding strain to your parenting duties:
1. Get involved in active exercise events in your community
Look for facilities that offer individual or drop-in classes, which allow you to pay as you go rather than wasting your money on that monthly gym membership you don’t have time to use. Dance, yoga, spinning and aerobics classes are all popular exercises and may even be offered by your township’s recreation department at a discounted rate.
The YMCA offers a variety of programs and events to keep you moving such as exercise classes, personal training and community activities. They even offer programs that involve kids, such as family nights with physical activities and opportunities for bonding.
Another great resource for community activities is Active.com. This website functions as a searchable database of events and activities at the local level and includes runs and walks, team sports, golf tee times and other exercises. You’ll also find articles geared toward family activities, healthy living and active lifestyles.
2. Involve the kids in your exercise plans
It’s your responsibility to teach the kids about healthy living from an early age, so why not include them in your physical activities? Go on a bike ride, or jog next to the little ones while they work their legs on the tricycle. Scope out a lake that you can walk around on the weekend, or even plan a hike if you’re feeling adventurous.
If you have a dog, take the kids on a walk or make time for play in the backyard. The positive effects that dogs can have are well documented, so if you don’t already have a pet you could consider adopting a furry friend in need of a good home.
3. Find opportunities for exercise in your schedule
Even if you can’t seem to find ten minutes for yourself, you can still incorporate physical exercise into your day. Look for daily activities that allow you to take it up a notch, and you may find yourself staying active without even realizing it.
Try power-mopping the floor or vigorously vacuuming the carpet. Take a walk with your child while practicing multiplication tables. Do some deep stretching while you prepare dinner. Becoming more active, even at a basic level, will help you to find additional opportunities for exercise.
Staying active and mobile will have a lasting effect on your ability to keep up with the kids and live a fulfilling life. By making health and fitness a priority for yourself, you can help your kids or grandchildren establish positive habits early on.
Children look to you as a role model and will emulate your behavior, so be careful not to give the impression that exercise does not matter. By using some of the tips outlined here, you can start making healthy changes today that will have a lasting impact on your family’s lives.
How do you find time to exercise while juggling the responsibilities of parenting?