Now first things first – trying to fit in some exercise when you have your small people around is not an easy task. Sometimes theres the option of a willing friend to have them for an hour, or a grandparent to take them to the park , but long term not many of us are lucky enough to have that luxury.
So its about compromise .
No it wont be that summers evening hour of escapism listening to your tunes, no it wont be a flowing routine of exercises that takes half an hour – but what it will be is WORTH IT !!! Just remember that every move you make – effort you go to, gets you one step closer to your goal. Its ALWAYS worth it – even if it takes you an hour to get them fed, watered and settled enough for you to even get started !!!
So heres a few tips I picked up along the way, and how I managed when my children were teeny;
- Time your exercise around their nap
Most small children have a napping routine in the day, mine used to be mid morning and mid afternoon. Use this time to your advantage ! Yes of course you properly could be tidying the kitchen, putting the washing in and manically clearing up….but LEAVE IT!! Those jobs will always need doing, and they can wait – give yourself 30 minutes of the day and you will feel great for it.
Pre nap time, change into your exercise kit, and plan what you are going to go . This could be a simple list of exercises, or perhaps an APP you have downloaded – either way get everything ready to go . Then once baby is asleep, you are ready to get straight to it – in the lounge, in the garden or out on a walk whilst little one is in the buggy.
When I had a baby and a toddler I would always save an episode or two of their favourite TV programme . Once baby was asleep, toddler would sit and watch 20 mins of TV while I was in the same room ‘doing my thing’.
No its not ideal – its a compromise…. and you will find you get stopped many times to fetch drinks or run to the potty….but guess what …its still worth it as its still progress in the right direction !!!
2. Garden Play !
Another favourite of mine was to do some exercise in the garden whilst the children were playing outside. At this age they weren’t old enough to join in, but were happy pondering around playing by themselves, but still requiring constant supervision.
Plan yourself a circuit of exercises using what you have around you – for example if you have some steps in your garden, this can be used to step up and down on , jump up , or press up/ tricep dip on. You could always take a kitchen chair out into the garden to use – or simply use yourself and the grass ! It doesn’t have to be anything intense as you will be interrupted a lot , so you need to be quite adaptable. A list I would use for example would be something like ;
a) 10 squats
b) 10 jumping jacks
c) 10 sit ups
d) 10 lateral lunges
e) 5 press ups and then hold the plank for 20 seconds
3) Let them join in ?!
When the children get bigger it’s easier to integrate exercise into the day whilst still keeping them entertained.
A favourite of mine is taking the children out on their bikes or scooters while jogging beside them . Again this never quite goes to plan as envitably they fall off, need the loo or get tired very soon and need help – BUT 20 minutes power walking or jogging is still so much better then nothing , and all it takes is for you to stick your trainers on !
Integrate activity into your daily life – don’t stress about it needing to be perfect …. it just has to be more then you were doing before to start making a difference 😉
4) Use them as equipment …..!
Make it really funny with them and they wont mind doing again the next day . Lifting a child as they grow takes some umph ( technical term ! lol) – but you could use this to your advantage. For example ;
- Focusing on perfect form…. hop the small person into a piggy back, and aim for 10 nice controlled squats! Laugh with them, let the giggle about – they will love it !
- Again focusing on perfect form – try the squat with your child on your front! This will change the balance and really have to make you concentrate hard 🙂
- When your plank starts to progress and you fancy and extra challenge …. get your child to lay on your back!
Other ideas would be to do sit ups opposite them – clapping hands at the top every time, or even simply getting them to count your reps or use the stop watch with a clip board to make them feel really important !
All of the above is compromise – but it has soooo many benefits not only for you , but for the example you are setting to your children, that exercise can be a lot of fun…. as well as hugely important both mentally and physically 🙂