Monday, February 20, 2017

How to Exercise When You Have Kids

During my pregnancy, I was motivated to exercise to keep Emmett healthy. It felt good to move, even if I had to do a lot of modifications. After Emmett was born, I was motivated to exercise to lose the baby weight and to be able to run again. Now, I feel fit and healthy again so my motivations have changed. I’m training to run three half marathons this year and my motivation to exercise is driven by my internal competitiveness to get faster. I’m also motivated by my toddler who doesn’t sit still and I have to keep up with him.
As a parent, our motivations and ability to exercise changes and evolves depending on what stage we are in with our children. A lot of what we do is driven by the fact that we are a parent and we have these tiny humans to care for.
You as the parent aren’t the only one who needs to exercise. Our kids spend an awful amount of time strapped in car seats or plopped in front of the TV, setting them up for a life-time of sedentary behaviors. It’s never too early to start building a good habit of exercise.
How, you may wonder, can I get my exercise in and help my child get the recommended one-plus hours of daily physical activity when there’s a long list of other things we need to do? The answer is to rethink your idea of exercise and to stop having negative thoughts about it.
You don’t have to lift weights or run laps to get your workout in. Think of exercise as leading an active lifestyle and building activity into your daily routines. Think of exercise as something you can do with your children and you will be able to fit in more exercise than you think.
Here are some ideas to help you turn every day into an opportunity to get fit and exercise together.
1.     Go for pre or post dinner walks

Build a walk into your daily schedule and make it a habit. We love to go for post dinner walks around the block that typically last 15 to 20 minutes, just enough time to get the blood flow going and heart pumping. Now that Emmett is getting a little older, we try to make the walk more interesting for him by playing “I spy” and pointing out different things along the way.

2.     Crank up the music and have a dance party in your living room

You might feel silly at first but quickly you will forget that you’re an adult and you’ll start to dance like it was 1983. Dancing is a great form of exercise but with all the fun you’re having with your kids and family you won’t remember that you’re working out.

3.     Turn TV commercials into workout breaks

Invent fun names for exercises like superman-squats, bob the builder push-ups, and princess sit-ups and do them until the show comes back on. You might even find that your kid doesn’t want to stop. Make it fun and r

4.     Plant a garden

Let the kids play in dirt and grow some summer vegetables – it’s a double-win. Also, research shows gardening can be as effective as weight training for preventing osteoporosis so you might even consider it a triple-win.

5.     Video record your exercise sessions

Encourage your kids to do exercises with you and record them working out. Kids love watching themselves on camera so if give them a reason to be on camera.

I guarantee that if you make exercise a priority for you and your family, you will feel more connected with your children, feel more confident, and have more energy.

Julie Harris has been working in the corporate fitness and wellness industry for eight years but decided it was time to fulfill her dream of becoming a Registered Dietitian. She is currently a distance dietetics student at the University of Northern Colorado. She owns an online coaching service and blog for women who are ready to make lasting changes, The Healthful Peach.  When she isn't studying or writing, she is spending time with her two year old son and husband, probably on a hike or a run somewhere. You can follow her on instagram,facebook, or sign up to get emails from her blog