Having children is the best, but they’re also really exhausting. It can feel like they’re literally running circles around you all day and still keeping you up at night. When’s a parent supposed to get some decent rest?
When you’re so tired that the idea of getting your blood pumping feels impossible, it’s easy to push physical activity to the back burner. We’re here to say that not only is it worth it to work out daily, but it’s easier than you think. By tweaking your schedule, routine, and expectations, you will find that you can get in your daily workout even though you have kids, and you might even enjoy the ride.
A Family Affair
We’ve all heard the saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them,” and it certainly works in this context. You may feel a little overwhelmed at the prospect of working out with your baby or toddler (or both), but it can be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone.
Out and About
If working out at home isn’t for you, look for a local gym that provides childcare. Your child will get valuable social time with other kids his age, and you’ll get some priceless “you time” as you hit the machines or do a class.
Another option for working out away from home is to sign up for a parent-and-me workout class at your community center or local fitness club. These classes are specifically designed to incorporate your baby into the workout, and you’ll have a chance to meet other fitness-minded parents in the process.
For the days when you can’t step out to do your workout, it’s not only possible to do it from home, but it can be great fun. For toddlers and preschool-aged children, doing a child-centered yoga (ex: Cosmic Kids Yoga) will keep your youngsters entertained and active. If you do the routine next to them, you might even find yourself huffing and puffing because of how fast-paced it is while smiling to yourself at all the silliness. If nothing else, you can always chase them around the yard in a good, old-fashioned game of tag until everyone is worn out.
Additionally, incorporating your baby into your workout doesn’t have to be hard or require extra equipment. You can always use your baby’s weight instead of free weights during your exercise. Hold him close as you do lunges and squats, and wear him in a carrier when you go walking. You can also lay him across your legs when you do crunches or lay preschool-aged kids across your back as you do planks.
Work Out in Little Ways
You might not be able to devote an uninterrupted half-hour or hour to working out like you used to, but any time you put toward your own physical fitness is better than none. You might be surprised that by finding little ways to exercise, you actually get in a good workout across the whole day. Some little things you can do include:
- Host a tiny dance party a few times a day and bust a move. You should be breathing hard and have an elevated heartrate by the end of it to count it as a moderate to vigorous workout.
- Do squats after each time you change a diaper.
- Hang on the monkey bars at the park.
- Jump rope when your kids are jumping rope.
Working out in little spurts throughout the day doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take a little bit of conscious thought to fit it in.
Invest in the Right Gear
Finding the right gear can make all the difference in how well you exercise after you have kids. At Hazel and Fawn, we have wearable, pushable, and pullable gear to meet everyone’s needs. Here’s how our equipment can support your fitness activities.
Walking/Jogging: Getting out for a walk or jog helps your sweet babe with healthy brain development, and it gets both of you out of the house (which reduces cabin fever). It’s also a great chance to meet with friends and catch up while the kids are occupied. Some of our favorite brands are UPPAbaby, Mountain Buggy, and Doona.
You shouldn’t let bad weather stop you, either. There are all kinds of stroller attachments to minimize the inconvenience of walking in rain, snow or heat. This cover keeps things nice and cozy, while this one keeps the mist out of your baby’s face. For hot, bug-infested areas, this mosquito net helps your baby stay bite-free while you stroll the neighborhood. Additionally, the Trailz Sibling Board looks like a little skateboard, but it attaches to your stroller to let an older child ride along, too.
Sometimes you have to go out and do things in places that don’t allow for strollers or trailers, so a carrier is what you need. Ergo, Baby Bjorn, and Nuna offer some excellent ergonomic carriers that grow with your baby and keep your back happy.
Biking: The Thule Chariot Cross 1 is one of the best biking trailers out there, but it holds a secret: it’s a jogging stroller as well! The best of both worlds, this two-in-one lets you walk, run, or bike with ease, while keeping your precious one safe and cozy.
Hiking: Osprey makes a fantastic hiking backpack that can support the weights of babies on up to small children. The metal frame distributes the weight evenly across your body to reduce fatigue over rough terrain, and they even have pouches and pockets to carry toys and snacks for your little one.
Getting in a good exercise session once a day is just as important for dads as it is for moms. Exercise helps alleviate tension and stress and can help both partners incorporate healthy habits into their everyday routines. You may have to set up a schedule to help both partners meet their fitness goals – with or without children present – but the physical and mental benefits of setting aside time for both partners to work out are well worth it.
Working out with a few kids doesn’t have to be impossible – on the contrary, it can be quite fun and fulfilling. Whether you choose to incorporate your kids into your fitness routine or work out a schedule so that you can do it sans children, you’ll find that the whole family will be happier and healthier by getting physically active multiple times a week.