It seems to me that the most common reason given by most parents for not exercising is that they are too busy with their children and cannot afford the time. This makes regular exercise a challenge for everyone especially parents. I understand that it can be difficult to find the time to juggle work, parenting, housework and regular exercise especially during the school holidays when the children spends more time at home.
However, having regular exercise is important and should be a priority. Parents need to exercise not only for themselves but also for the children’s benefit. It is important for us to set a good example to our children and let them know that we engage in exercise to stay healthy. Tell them that we are growing old & need the exercise so that we have the energy & stamina to keep up with them. We should not let them have a negative image of exercise.
Many of us would wonder how we can make exercise fit in our busy schedule. Well, I came across an article which offers some tips to parents on how a little planning can help you find ways to incorporate workouts (often with your children) into the time you spend with them irregardless of what age your children are.
Here are some of the tips based on the age of your children:
Age: Infant through pre-school
Fit in exercise time while they are napping. Try a home exercise video, walking or jogging (if you have a treadmill), jumping rope.
Occupy them for even 15 minutes with a video or toy while you do some toning exercises like squats and tricep dips.
Grab your stroller and go for a brisk walk*. Or, buy a jogging stroller for more flexibility. With a jogging stroller you can walk faster, jog or even run at a fast pace. And, for veteran rollerbladers, you can even use the stroller for some skating time.
For younger children, you can use a back carrier to transport them while walking. This can burn even more calories as the extra weight makes it more challenging.
Turn on some music and dance together. Toddlers love dancing, especially when their parents joins in.
Push your kid on a swing. And, after every push complete one squat.
Use an infant carrier or bike trailer to enjoy a bike ride together.
Age: Primary School
Try rollerblading or skating together.
Spend an afternoon at a park with a playground, but don’t spend the whole time relaxing on the sidelines – join in on the fun. Spend some time swinging to help workout your legs. Try making it across the monkey bars – even just once (it’s a great upper body workout and you’ll be amazed that your kid does it with such little ease). Try some pull-ups using a bar on the playset. Do some tricep dips on a nearby park bench.
Play catch with a ball or get a small group together for a kickball or softball game.
Make Saturdays family bike outing day.
Involve your kids while you strength train. Let them count your reps out loud for you and/or clock your rest time in-between sets.
For pool outings, don’t just spend time soaking up the sun. Walk back and forth in shallow water while your kids have fun splashing about.
On rainy days that force you inside, walk or run up and down the stairs.
You might even make it a contest to see who can finish 5 complete rounds first.
Register for a fun run (or walk) event and spend time together training for the event.
Sign up for a family gym membership and workout together weekly.
Play tennis or basketball or other sports together.
Consider joining a community volleybal, basketball or soccer team that includes enthusiasts of all ages.
Don’t just sit and cheer your kids at their sporting events. Every few minutes do some walking or jumping jacks or squats.
Implement a daily family walk each day before or after dinner.
Do house chores like cleaning & mopping the floor together.
Washing or polishing the family car can be great exercise too.
Hopefully with the above tips & recommendations, you no longer have an excuse not to workout. Plus, exercising with your children also provides the extra BONUS of spending quality time together.