When you're a parent with young children, time to yourself is a precious commodity. If it seems like there's always something to do, well, that's because there is. Meal prep, diaper changes, play time, laundry, and more diaper changes. Wash, rinse, repeat.
But that doesn't mean you should neglect yourself or your health. Eat healthy, nutritious foods and get as much sleep as you can. And don't forget to exercise. We know -- easier said than done given the chronic time crunch known as parenthood. Resorting to quick workouts is one alternative to maintain some semblance of your pre-child gym routine. Employ these tips to sneak in some exercise while still donning your Super Mom cape.
You don't need to spend 90 minutes at your gym working up a sweat on the elliptical machine. Exercises such as push-ups, crunches, planks, jumping jacks, squats, and burpees are perfect for building stamina, increasing strength, and revving up your heart rate. And all those exercises travel well -- you can bring them with you anywhere you go.
Drop for Ten
The beauty of body-weight exercises when it comes to convenience is that you can pretty much do them anytime, anywhere. First thing after getting out of bed in the morning or right before retiring for the evening are ideal times to sneak in ten push-ups. Hanging out with your daughter in den? Drop to the floor and bang out ten crunches. The couch or ottoman is perfect for tucking your feet under for support.
Push-ups are great for building upper body strength
Photo Source: Flickr/Parker Knight
Most parents enjoy the peace and quiet brought about by a nice, long nap from their little one. Instead of crashing on the couch, put that time to good use by exercising in your home. Develop a routine that incorporates a few of the above-mentioned body weight exercises. Repeat that routine three or four times. Cool off with a refreshing shower afterwards. You'll not only feel great, but you'll be invigorated and ready to spend the rest of the afternoon with your child.
Incorporate Exercise into Play Time
If your child is a fan of being outside, use that to your advantage. Take her for long walks in a wagon; you pull, of course. Or, let her see the sights of your neighborhood buckled safely into a jogging stroller as you pound the pavement for a quick run.
When the clock strikes noon, how many folks grab their lunch, retreat to their desks, and surf the internet for mindless entertainment? How about going for a walk instead? A short, brisk walk outside does wonders for your mood and your health. Your lunch will be waiting for you when you return.
What kid doesn't enjoy spending an hour or two at a jungle gym? That doesn't mean your child is the only one allowed to have fun. Monkey bars are great for doing pull-ups, while benches work just as well for triceps dips.
Jungle gyms aren't just for kids
Photo Source: Flickr/Michael Bentley
Early Bird Catches the Worm
If you desire a longer workout, start your day before the sun comes up, and hit the gym before most people are up to get ready for work. This will take some cooperation with your partner; someone needs to be there when the kids wake up. Your body and mind will take some time to adapt to a 4:00 AM alarm clock, but it's worth it.
Just because your life drastically changes when you have children doesn't mean your fitness habits need to permanently hibernate. Use your ingenuity to sneak in those quick workouts. Your health is worth the effort.