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Fitting in exercise with kids

family running

family runningChildren have so much energy it can be hard to keep up with them, but it’s often a struggle for mums to fit in their own exercise when kids are around.

Here are some ideas to help busy mums keep up your fitness training.

Exercise while they’re busy

It may be tempting to do housework rather than exercise while they’re watching a DVD, but when the children are busy it’s the perfect time to sneak in your fitness training.

If you find it difficult to stop yourself doing something productive around the home while they’re occupied within your house walls, go for a daily visit to the park. Your kids can have fun on the swings and slides while you go for a jog around the playground (or shuttle runs backwards and forwards down the length of the playground), do some push ups on a bench, and do some lunges on a flat area nearby.

You may find other mums will be inspired and want to join you; this makes for a great social occasion and a coffee catchup afterwards may be good motivation. Everyone will get fresh air and a bit of exercise!

Split your exercise up

Getting fit doesn’t need to be about exercising for a full one hour session. While doing your exercise in one fell swoop is probably more ideal for focus reasons, any exercise is better than no exercise and splitting it up over the course of your day into bite-sized mini workouts can help you squeeze it in for a cumulative effect.

For example, when you first get up in the morning, go for a brisk walk or chase the kids around the lounge for a bit. In the afternoon, do some bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges or crunches.

Get older kids to join you (a little bit of competition never hurts… ‘How many squats can you do? I can do 20 in a row!’). Include younger children by holding them while you do your mini workout or having them nearby and turning it into a game. Crunches are great for peek-a-boo if you put baby in a bouncer in front of you, push ups are great for belly kisses every time you come down, and a baby can make a great replacement for freeweights by wearing them in a carry pack while you do squats!

Tip: Just make sure that if you’re attempting anything intense during your short workout such as jumps, weighted or deep exercises, that you are adequately warmed up before you get into it (as you would normally do these moves after doing simpler exercises to get the joints moving/warm which helps prevent injuries).

Make it a priority

Your children are important, but remember that they rely on you, therefore your own health and wellbeing are also important otherwise you won’t be at your best to take care of them. Not to mention that they are always watching you; your nutrition and exercise habits are helping to shape the way they see the world of health, fitness and wellbeing!

If they don’t see you cooking, they won’t grow up thinking that cooking is normal for grownups. If they don’t see you exercising or running around with them to play, they won’t think it’s important for an adult to be fit.

Accept that it’s okay to look after yourself, set a good example for your children and make exercise a priority. Arranging for your children to spend time with your partner, their friends or grandparents so you can go to the gym isn’t being selfish; it’s allowing them to develop their other social relationships.

If you are home alone with the children during the daytime and want to fit your exercise in, consider swapping babysitting services with another parent; they go to the gym while you look after their kids, then you go to the gym while they look after yours.

When you get back, you can ask them what they did while you were out and in exchange share what you did at the gym. Show them a couple of exercises that you did, and ask them if they can do them too! Many kids love rising to the challenge of attempting a push up or a particular type of jump.

Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – photostock

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