Happy Healthy Parents Equals Happy Healthy Kids

My 2 youngest ride in the stroller while the oldest rides a bike.  This day we did 7 miles!

My two youngest ride in the stroller while the oldest rides a bike. This day we did 7 miles!

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.  Not only does exercise keep you strong and healthy, it also keeps you sane!  People who regularly exercise tend to feel less fatigued, stressed and depressed.  When you are happy, the people around you are happy!

So, where do you fit in within these prescribed 150 minutes?  Do you exercise less?  More? Not at all?  It is understandable that life gets in the way and people tend to put exercise lower on their list of priorities.  Yet, maybe that is the wrong way to approach exercise.  More exercise might be tough to squeeze in to a busy schedule, but ultimately you will save time on illness and depression and you will be more productive and energized!

Personally, I know what it is like to be a stay-at-home mom & a working mom.  Neither option is an easy one.  Yet, I have found a way to make exercise a priority in my life because it creates a happier, healthier mommy and it also teaches my children to value an active, healthy lifestyle.  Sure, my family and my job come before exercise, but I have learned to put other items, like chores, lower on the list.

Here are some tips on how a stay-at-home parent and a working parent can find ways to incorporate exercise into their daily lives:

  • Invest in a gym membership that offers childcare!  This is the easiest way to do it, but only if you can afford it.  The YMCA is a great place and very family-friendly.  Not only do you get time to exercise (by yourself), you also get a break from your children (and they get a break from you!).  It can be a great opportunity for your children to socialize with other human beings (besides you).
  • Find someone to “trade” exercise time with.  This ultimately would be your spouse, but other family members and friends can be a great option as well.  Let them watch your kids while you go for a run and then offer to do the same in return.
  • Invest in a jogging stroller.  You don’t need to spend more than $100-$200.  Sometimes you can even score a great deal at a yard sale or online.  Strap those puppies in (seriously they do have jogging strollers for pets) and head out the door!  It takes a few jogs for you (the extra weight) and the kid to get used to it, but then you can go when you want and where you want (well, you do have to build up to pushing that thing up hills).  Not only that, but running moms without joggers are always giving you the thumbs up and “awesome job” shout out because they are totally impressed.
  • Do your kids play at the park?  You know that you don’t always have to be on their heels, right?  They need some independence once in awhile.  What can you do instead?  Tricep dips on the bench, squats, step-ups on the stairs, walking lunges around the perimeter, etc.  I think you get the picture. The same applies for being more productive during your evening t.v. time.
  • Moms tend to enjoy playdates.  So, why not enjoy them with a friend who loves fitness?  Grab your jogging strollers and head out on a run with each other.  Afterwards stop at the park for some exercises while the kids have a ball cooing at each other (if they are babies) or playing together.
  • Working moms might not have time for jogging strollers or play dates, so early mornings, lunch breaks, evenings or weekends might be the only options.   It sounds agonizing, but waking up an hour early for a run isn’t all that bad.  It just takes consistency and dedication.  Once you have been doing it for a few weeks it becomes second nature.  As for the lunch breaks… well, we all know that no one takes lunch breaks.  But did you know that your productivity during the second half of the day will soar if you take time for a bit of exercise?  Honestly, most employers are on board with their employees exercising during lunch, but most employees don’t think to ask.  Find out what your company’s policy is.  Some employees even get some of their gym membership paid for!
  • Start off slow.  If weekends are all you can manage, then start there.  Once you physically feel and see the benefits, then you will be more motivated to find ways to fit exercise into your busy schedule.  If you only have 10 minutes, then exercise for 10 minutes!  That is a step in the right direction.

These are just a few ways that you can incorporate exercise into your busy schedule.  Just think about all of the benefits and how you are impacting your children!  They will see how you value exercise and that will be imprinted on them forever.  If all parents led an active, healthy lifestyle then the childhood obesity rate would not be as high as it is today!

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