If you have kids, under the age of say 8 years old, chances are you feel like your life is rushing you by at 100 miles per hour.
They need constant attention... feeding, watering and nurturing in general. You must keep them safe and they must feel safe also. It's a full time job, 24/7 with no breaks and, unless you have a Mary Poppins stashed away somewhere, no holidays either.
So when it comes to getting in shape, it is usually waaaaaayy down the list of priorities for a lot of parents...but it doesn't have to be. I'm going to give you parents a few tips on how to burn extra calories when the kids are with you and also a few things you can do with them too.
Now first thing's first, i know that there are certain ages you can't do specific things with your children, but you can adapt most things to fit.
For example, if they're able then walking, running and playing outdoor type games with your kids is a fantastic way for you to exercise and also bond. Younger children need this type of activity for social development.
Having children needn't be a barrier to exercise and staying fit and, most parents will tell you that it's not exactly easy when you're picking them up 2938 times a day from the floor, or constantly running after them because they want to plough through the hedge into Mrs Roberts' prize petunias.This constant running around will increase your NEAT (Non Exercise Activated Thermogenesis) and certainly make you feel like you've done something in the day.
So when it comes to what we know as 'exercise' how do we go about it? Well, there a few ways to incorporate structured exercise into your day...
WALKING...Walking is probably one of the best fat burning exercises around as you don't usually get your heart rate to a point where your body changes from one energy system to another. Long walks would fall into the LISS training category.
LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) is a favourite of bodybuilders and people wanting to drop body fat but not lose much muscle mass.
Because the body isn't under too much stress, it primarily uses fat as an energy source without drawing upon the proteins in your system intended for muscle repair and growth. It's also important to point out that walking outside is very good for your state of mind, as well as providing that all important vitamin D.
DANCING...Now this is one that most people don't think about, but lots of children absolutely love to dance! It's a form of expression for them and also encourages that bond too.Anything that involves jumping or moving your body in any way for long periods of time, is going to be good for you. It doesn't take that much to elevate your heart rate, so put some music on, dress up and have a dance! Also encouraging your child to make shapes with their body, leading by example, is a cheeky way of getting some iso-metric exercise in too.
CYCLING... If your child is old enough and can ride a bike then going to your local park, or around your area if it's safe enough, and cycling together is a fantastic way for both of you to exercise. It increases fitness levels and stamina. It promotes a healthier cardiovascular system and trains motor skills in the way of balance.
If your child is too young to ride a bike then you could consider getting a child seat attached and riding your bike to the park or maybe to a friends for a playdate and a coffee.
A static exercise bike, if you have the room in your house, is also a good alternative as you can jump on and train for 20 minutes here and there will your child sleeps or sits mesmerised by peppa pig!
If you don't feel like doing exercise at home and you want to go to a gym then there are options out there. A lot of gyms now offer a daycare service so that you can drop them off knowing they're safe and in good hands, while you go and train. This is good on more than one level. This will allow you to have that little bit of 'me time' and give some control back to you (because god knows you need it!) This is important for your own self esteem, stress levels and general well being. It's also great for your child, again to develop those social skills, and to experience different methods of play.
Yoga is another great solution as it can be done both at a gym or leisure centre, or at home. There are many DVD's to follow and even more books. Youtube is another great source of content and it's free!
Swimming is a fun activity for families of all sizes and capabilities and a great source of calorie burning. Even splashing around in the pool and just enjoying the water is more than enough to keep the body moving and encourage your child's body to grow.
Running in the garden, encouraging babies to crawl, musical statues, a round of tig, competitions and races on the park or in the garden and kicking a football around...these are all things that can be done with little planning and big reward. If this is a constant in your day to day life then your own fitness, and waistline, should be maintained.
Simply stay active, eat with a little common sense and you should remain fairly happy with yourself.
For a brief explanation on the basics of nutrition click HERE
And for my blog on weight loss click HERE
Having children needn't be a barrier to your own fitness journey, if you really want it there are options available to you. I hope this post has been helpful, please leave a like by clicking the heart symbol.
Till next time,
The Blueprint PT