Fitting Exercise into Your Day (With Kids in Tow)
Ok so anyone with kids or childcare responsibilities is going to appreciate just how difficult it is to fit exercise into your day. I was actually thinking of titling this blog post ‘How to fit ANYTHING into your day (with kids in tow…)’!
For the first few weeks/months after having my first child I can’t say that I thought too much about keeping fit and healthy – it was more just a cycle of feeding, changing, feeding, and feeding some more…. over the coming months though it became important for me – both mentally and physically – to fit some activity into our day. I’ve also tried to keep as active as possible during my second pregnancy but I must admit it feels more difficult this time around!
So I’ve come up with some ideas/tips around fitting exercise into your day when you have kids, hopefully you will be able to use at least one of them to help you get active:
- Walking – Exercise in its simplest form, yet often overlooked for more ‘vigorous’ activities. I was out walking with my baby every single day during my maternity leave, usually twice a day in fact. I found it helped wake me up and clear my head. Even on those days when functioning on zero sleep, I always felt better after a walk.
- Early morning or late evening workouts. If you can get out and exercise early before the rest of the house wakes and before your partner goes to work then I found this a great way of fitting in a workout. For me it was easiest to put on my running gear and head out for a quick 5k but there are gyms that open early and classes that run early which are also great options.
- Utilise your lunch break. If you’re working then you will get a lunch break and whether you can take 30 minutes or 1 hour then you should use it to your advantage. If you have shower facilities at work then you could go for a run, if not then you could have a brisk walk instead. Depending on where you work there are some gyms with classes designed specifically to fit into your lunch break. Another option I found worked really well for me was to run home from work a couple of times a week. This is a brilliant time-efficient way of fitting exercise into your day.
- Tag team with a partner or friend. This is something that me and my partner do all the time, usually at weekends. One of us goes out for a run, the other looks after the baby/children and then when you get back, you swap. Simple!
- Take baby with you. There are pregnancy/child-friendly classes such as Bumps and Babes that allow you to take your baby/child with you for a session which is a great option. You could also invest in a running buggy or there are some places around which will let you hire running buggies and run around the park.
- Home workouts. Yes, I know, easier said than done, but still possible! Although this does depend on the age of the child/children. When my daughter was a new born, I’d fit in a short cycle on our stationery bike whilst she napped. Now she is older she will (sometimes!) sit and read a book and I can manage a quick 20 minutes. Yoga and Pilates stretches are a good option to do at home. Now that my daughter is a toddler she loves trying to copy some of the poses. I’m sure she’ll master that headstand before I do!!
- Include your children in your workout. Depending on the age of your child/children you could have them run, cycle or scooter next to you. I’ve seen plenty of examples of this when I’ve been out and about and the kids always look like they’re having a great time. It’s a good way to get them active too.
- And finally, if you’re really strapped for time, you could always do some stretches/squats/lunges etc when you are waiting for the kettle to boil. I find myself doing this all the time and it soon becomes a habit. Some movement is better than no movement!
I hope you have found this useful. Please feel free to comment below with your tips on fitting exercise into your day.