I’ve heard it said that out of (1) social life, (2) family time, and (3) exercise, you can only really have two. But, I don’t believe that and neither should you! While yes, having kids can feel all-consuming at times, you don’t have to let your exercise tumble on the priority list. Having a consistent and healthy exercise routine is critical, not just for your physical well being, but for your emotional well being and confidence. Additionally, it’s important to set a good example for your kids!
Perhaps you’ve already figured out how to maintain a gym schedule, but for those of us that struggle with finding the time...here are a few activities you can weave into your week to get some exercise without losing out on that critical time with your kids.
1. Invest in a Jogging Stroller
This can be a game-changer for new parents! Jogging strollers allow you to get your sweat-session in while staying close to your little one. If they’re feeling sleepy - pop them in the stroller and jog until they’re down for a nap! Or take a jog to and from the park, with playtime in between. Your kid(s) will love the stroller time and you won’t have to skip that afternoon run.
If you have multiple kids, have the older ones roller blade or bike alongside you.
2. Join in During Playtime
Sometimes we’re so overloaded with housework and other obligations that we use playtime as an opportunity to let the kids do their own thing. And that’s totally fine! But every once in a while, joining in on the rowdy fun can create a really positive outcome.
Not only will your kids love that you’re spending time with them and doing what they love (playing tag, kicking a soccer ball around), but you’ll also get in a surprisingly good workout! Tap into their seemingly endless energy reserve and you’ll be working off the calories in no time.
3. Take Weekly Family Walks or Bike Rides
Growing up, my family took bike rides up to the beach at least one or two nights a week. It was great exercise, but it was also the perfect way to build a weekly habit where we all spent time together.
It may feel unnatural to “schedule” this type of activity, but it’s important to be intentional about a new routine so that everyone gets on board and sticks to it. Especially as your kids grow and move through school with different activities and after-school obligations, having a family tradition, like weekly bike rides, can really set the tone for a long-term healthy habit.
If you want to add a little bit more of a workout into the mix, maybe take a bike ride to the park or the beach, play a game of catch or tag, and then bike ride home.
4. Get a Dog!
I know, I know, getting a dog is a BIG deal, and not something you should do just because you want to get more exercise. However, in addition to all of the wonderful joys having a dog can bring to a family, it’s also something that will certainly get you up and moving.
Having a dog can encourage taking family walks and trips to the park during times when you might have avoided it otherwise. Maybe it’s a little chilly or rainy outside. Or maybe everyone is feeling a bit lazy around the house. Having a dog (who has to go outside to use the restroom and run around), can be that extra push of motivation you need!
5. Bring Your Kids to the Gym or Exercise Class with You
If you really want to get in a traditional gym or fitness class workout, but don’t want to miss out on time with the kids…bring them with you! (Depending on their age, of course.) If you’ve got kids around 6 or older, they’d probably have a great time walking on the treadmill next to you. Most treadmills and bikes have TVs as well, so they can watch a show while getting in a little exercise themselves. Plus, it’s never too early to start instilling good habits and teaching your kids about the importance of physical fitness.
Another good option is parent-child yoga classes. Do a quick Google search in your city and I guarantee you will find a yoga class designed for parents and kids. Even babies! These classes are getting more and more popular and are a great way to combine family bonding with exercise.
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