Parenting can be exhausting. There is so much to do and not nearly enough time in which to do it. Parents with young children often feel even more rushed and overwhelmed. Pulled in a million different directions. If you’re not keeping up with your babies and toddlers, you’re catching up on sleep. Most parents do not prioritize exercise over their children. Fortunately, you don’t have to. You can stay fit and still be an ever-present mom or dad.
Here’s how to do it:
Walk or run with a stroller
Bring the kids along with you on a run, jog or walk. Purchase good quality, and safe, strollers that make it so much easier than it used to be. Also, check your circles, or online, for some gently used varieties.
Move when you can
Throughout the day, find ways to sneak in more activity. It doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, when you go to the store, park further away than you normally would.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Do squats while cooking or washing dishes. Practice stretching exercises while watching your favorite show. Take the family for a walk after breakfast, lunch or dinner. These are all ways to easily keep moving throughout the day.
Take advantage of naptime
Just because your kids are resting, doesn’t mean you have to. Find an appealing workout ahead of time. When the kids go down for a nap, slip on those sneakers and get at it.
The workout doesn’t have to be lengthy either. Just fifteen minutes a day, coupled with healthy eating, can help you stay fit and feeling good.
Get up earlier or stay up later
When you put a routine in place, such as regular bedtimes or wake-up times, this helps you better plan your downtime. Some people do better exercising in the early morning while others prefer to wait until night. Whatever works for you, as long as you do it.
Think about how long it takes to clear your head in the morning or get everything set in the evening. If you work out at night, give yourself about an hour to cool down before you’ll be able to sleep.
Find an online workout
Exercising at home is easier than trying to find time for the gym. You also don’t have to worry about a babysitter with this plan.
Most libraries have free and fun exercise videos to check out. You can also follow along with free workouts on YouTube and other websites.
They can be short workouts of only ten minutes, but that’s still better than staying sedentary. As long as you get your heart rate up, it’s all good.
Include the kids
Taking your children outside to get active is great on several levels. For one, it keeps you moving. It also sets a good example for your kids when they see you staying active. Another good reason to exercise outside with the kids? All that fresh air will help them sleep better at night.
Play with them in the backyard, at a local park or playground. Walk the dog together. Visit the beach or pool to get in some refreshing activity. All of it counts as exercise.
Partner up and trade
Perhaps you have some friends who are in the same boat as you? Or maybe a partner?
Find a way where someone you trust can watch the kids one day, while you work out, and then you return the favor. Make it a weekly thing!
Buy exercise equipment to stay fit at home
You don’t need an empty room, or state of the art/expensive equipment. In fact, there are plenty of ways to purchase gently used equipment, online or in a store, that isn’t costly.
If you don’t have extra space in your house, consider a treadmill or stationary bike. These items don’t take up much room. Place them in the garage, on the porch or even in the corner of your living room.
Think outside the box
Perhaps you’ve never thought of yourself as a morning person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try a different routine. Change your thinking and adjust how you do things. Give it about a week. It might turn out to be a good fit.
Be gentle with yourself
All new parents go through a transition period.
It takes some time to develop a routine with these brand new members of your family. Be patient as you try new ideas and adjust to all these changes.
Move to some music
Kids have more energy than they know what to do with – that’s why KidzToPros sports programs are so popular. But when kids are young, you can easily turn on some tunes, clear space in your living room and dance with them.
They’ll burn some energy, and you’ll burn some calories. Win/Win.
Utilize date nights
Instead of dinner and drinks, pick a “stay fit” date night with your special someone. For instance, go hiking together. Or maybe bicycle riding. You can even join local leagues and play tennis, pickleball or softball together with other couples.
Set a goal
Sometimes it helps to look ahead. If you know about a particular 5K or other race that’s coming up in six months or so, think about signing up for it. Enlist help from your partner, friends or family members.
You’d be surprised how many people will support you, either with company while you’re training, free babysitting or just cheering you across the finish line. It makes working out a lot of fun for goal-oriented people.
Find supportive friends
Playgroups form around so many reasons – mutual interests, the children’s ages or even just living in the same place. Why not form a playgroup for exercising?
Take turns watching the young ones while working out. Exercising with friends is also a great time to socialize with your peers.
In the end
You can stay fit with young kids and still be a wonderful full-time parent. In fact, parents who exercise have more energy to devote to their families. Then everyone wins.