Get up early & work out. Do a DVD at nap time. Run to the store, ride the bus home with milk eggs & bread. Do an extra 4 sets every time you have to go up or downstairs to fetch something. Bike commute instead of driving to work. Kid’s Club drop-off and a gym workout. Walk or run through the park while your child is participating in their sports practice.
I know, I know, I just listed a bunch of ideas, but I know you have MORE to share! And busy parents of young children need as many options as possible (not to mention the forethought of scheduling it into their day) to get it done consistently. Parents of young children are often sleep-deprived, scarf half-eaten graham crackers and eggies for their daily energy, and have to be “on” until the kiddos are in bed. A workout opportunity needs to be recognized and grasped at the drop of the hat. Let’s help them do that, because there’s always time. We just need to teach them how to grasp it.
I believe you should not focus on squeezing in a workout into their day. A child (depending on age) does not need exercise as well as lacks the motor capabilities unlike an adult to perform fluid exercise movements. Also, children have the ability to expend energy (burn calories) similar MUCH easier just through performing activities. A University of South Florida study showed that kids expend enough energy (burn calories) from utilizing 30 minutes on a playground. So the focus should be that their day is full of activeness. It does not good if a child works out for an hour and is sedentary all day playing video games, watching tv/movies, sitting at school. I encourage engagement in sports especially as they get older. However, no matter who active they are – what you let your children intake will ultimately determine their body composition.
Please check out my article I wrote on this,
Hope this helps
Fuel the Movement,
I have to confess that I have never been in that position because I do not have children. But when I read your list of parents sprinting up and down the stairs, I almost got out of breath myself, and I am not a sleep-deprived parent.
One thing struck me, though: where are the children in the picture? Are their no activities to do WITH them, rather than apart from them. I have as a special concern that I believe it is great for children to watch their parents exercise and be their role models.
I also contemplated a bit of mind/body exercise. Stretching together, even some yoga poses.
I agree with Anne that it’s great to find options that you can do WITH your children. Even when I pop in a DVD, my kids often like to do some of the exercises with me. My kids love yoga. Otherwise, we get outside and play as much as possible. Kickball, badminton, freeze tag; whatever will keep us running around and having fun.
Jason, thanks for the study info and link.
True Jennifer and Karin, thanks for the suggestions! I teach Baby Boot Camp stroller fitness classes, and so I totally agree that working out with kiddos and playing games with them is super fun. MizFit just wrote about that on her blog.
But when it comes to at-home workouts (probably somewhat dependent on the age of the children), my circle of parents agree that it’s not always safe or logistically possible to work out around your kids, although it’s fun to see my 3-year-old do a few push-ups and jumping jacks! Unfortunately she’s also been the recipient of an errant knee or hand, and once a dumbbell conk on the head. Additionally, I have rarely been able to complete 5 minutes without stopping to break up an conflict, rescue the baby from peril, feed someone, or receive an offer to “play trains with me.” And that only goes for those of us who possess the discipline to attempt a workout rather than the other 10 things that actually need to be completed in order to perpetuate a working household (food, clothing, the basics).
So workouts have been relegated to child-free times of day, which are normally brief yet intense. Hence my question!
I too am a mom to 3 small children and although it can be difficult, its not impossible to get exercise into my day. I always tell my clients that they have to take care of themselves first so they can take care of their children. Plus, like the others have said, when our children see us exercising, they get in on the act too. We’re their best role models!
I love when my clients find extra ways in their day to get in a little extra exercise: walking vs taking the car, parking further away, doing various squats while getting the baby to sleep, etc. I don’t think that’s a substitution for a “full” workout. As parents we need to take care of ourselves so we can be there for our children. Plus, our clients should be focusing on what their doing, what muscles their working and their alignment. We’re not talking them having to do an hour workout, but even 10, 20 minutes of engaged activity is better than an hour workout where they’re just “trying to get it in”! Show them how to do a circuit, go to the park and let the kids play while they workout, go to a field and do the same. Go for a hike or run (kids can bike or be placed in a stroller) and add in 1 min of body weight strengthening activities.
After awhile, once parents start seeing the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle in their lives, they’ll wonder how they ever didn’t fit it in.