The title of this week’s post could also be “Five Ways to Sneak in Exercise When You Have Kid(s)” (it was a toss-up – let me know which one you think should have won!).
If you’ve got one child or three, you probably find yourself with less time (or at least less time flexibility) to exercise than you did in your pre-kid life (also known as “BC” – “before child(ren)” – welcome to “AD: after dependent(s)). Going to the gym at 5am used to actually be a totally normal occurrence in my life (weird, I know). Now sleep is more precious than gold (on the other hand, I know some parents who have embraced early-morning workouts in parenthood, since they’re up with the kids anyway!). Or maybe scheduling didn’t matter so much – you could leave the house on a whim, totally unsupervised (you AND the house). Now it’s major-league level logistics to coordinate who is doing what, where, when and with whom.
I’m here to offer up some strategies to get you (or keep you) moving. Fitting into your pre-kids wardrobe is a great money-saver (and ego-booster), because time and money both seem to disappear more quickly when there are little people in the household (and no, I don’t mean Leprechauns!). You can review this week’s Instagram video series (or get the videos in your Facebook newsfeed – be sure to choose “Follow” and “See First” to ensure you’re getting all of my latest and greatest FREE health & fitness content). Or you can settle in right here with me for a read:
Work Out At Home
Whether you have a full home gym, basic equipment or no equipment at all, you can still get a great workout at home. Take over the basement, living room or backyard and get your sweat on!
Basic equipment: two sets of dumbbells (one light, one heavier – this will be unique to YOU and your current fitness level), 1-2 kettlebells, resistance bands or, if you want to be really fancy, a suspension trainer like a TRX. You can also incorporate a sturdy, stable ottoman or chair or couch to support you for things like step-ups and dips, or incline push-ups. If you have a set of stairs in your home, you have an instant cardio option, too.
Not sure where to start? Get on Google or YouTube for basic home workout routines. Or ask your favourite online trainer (hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge) for recommendations.
Take Your Child(ren) To The Gym
If your gym has a child care centre, drop your child(ren) off there while you work out. If not, find out if there is a way to bring your child(ren) into the gym.
Be safe with this! For an infant in a bucket seat, see if there is a safe place for him or her to hang out. For an older child who can be trusted to be safe near the equipment, see if the gym permits this. My son was able to accompany me to in the gym starting around age 3. There was an enclosed area with mats and stability balls where he could happily and safely play while I lifted weights nearby and could maintain visual and verbal contact with him. Some gyms even have program options for kids, starting with elementary school age and up (see tip 5).
Arrange For Child Care
If you can’t or don’t want to work out at home and you can’t or don’t want to take your child(ren) to the gym, then arrange for child care while you work out. This might mean, yes, hiring a babysitter or asking a trusted family member, friend, neighbour, or co-worker to take care of your child(ren) while YOU get your sweat on.
This person might come to your home while you go for a run or go to the gym. This person might meet you AT the gym and take the kid(s) while you work out.
Knowing your children are in good hands will allow you to really focus on your workout and get the most out of it, versus keeping part of your attention on the “lookout” for something you might need to handle. Despite the fact that I was able to bring my son to the gym with me, my attention was divided between keeping an eye on him and really pushing myself in the workout. Remember, however, that SOMETHING is better than NOTHING.
Work Out With Other Parents
And yes, the kids get to come, too. Unless of course, you want to arrange for child care with other parents, meaning that each of you takes a turn to watch all of the kids while the other parents work out, and then next time it’s your turn.
Or, bring the kids along! Yup, get to a big place (outdoors, in a gymnasium, etc). Have the adults form a perimeter and the kids can run around and play in the middle.
This way you get to work up a sweat, get some fresh air, get out of the house, get some social time talking to other adults (all things that might seem to be or really ARE in short supply now that the minions are in your life) AND your kids get to run around and play with other kids. It’s a winning combination!
Work Out WITH Your Kid(s)
Sign up for a Mommy and Baby/Toddler/Preschooler/Kid/Preteen activity that you actually DO together. This could be swimming or yoga or gymnastics or cycling or rock-climbing – your options are endless and are limited really only by your interests (and maybe your budget). Chances are, if you’ve thought of it, so has someone else. If not, maybe you’re the one to start an initiative in your area! If you’re into aerial arts, OF COURSE your neighbourhood needs a backyard tight-rope walking class!
You get a workout, you introduce your child(ren) to healthful habits and you are a role model, all well getting quality family time (and no need to pay for a babysitter). Awesome!
What family-friendly activities has your family done? I’d love to hear in the comments, below.
Have a fit day!