Exercise ideas for busy parents

Hello everybody! Welcome back to my blog. The purpose of this blog is to help people find their way to a healthier lifestyle. I mostly talk about exercise and its science, which is my area of expertise, but I also talk about nutrition, sleeping habits and many other subjects related to wellbeing and healthy lifestyle. 

I know, you don’t have time. And you truly don’t have time to go through all the hustle of getting ready for the gym, arriving there, doing your exercises, having a shower and heading back home. I agree, I don’t have time for that sometimes and I don’t even had kids. Perhaps you have constantly been told that exercise is all about going to the gym, but that is not true. When you become a parent, your kids come first no matter what, so that trip to the gym becomes completely impossible. The problem is that you have stopped doing exercise at all. You do nothing, and you keep telling yourself that you’ll get back to it when they grow older. What if I tell you that you can do heaps of exercise without having to go to the gym?

I have come across many parents in my life as a babysitter and as part of a big Spanish family. There are many different “reasons” why they decided not to do exercise in order to have more time to look after the kids and keep going to work. What I realised is most of them simply did not do much exercise before they had kids in the first place, so being parents was the perfect excuse to avoid doing exercise. It’s difficult to see exercise or practising sports as a way of living if you haven’t practiced any physical activity since you were a little child. Fortunately, there is more and more information about how exercise may be the answer for preventing many diseases, and it’s been broadly shown how exercising helps ageing better and in a healthier way (especially for women).

Now, parents, I want you to lower your expectations. You won’t be able to go to the gym as much. You won’t be able to attend your soccer tournaments every week, you won’t go for a run every morning before work, you won’t go rock climbing every second day, unless you can hire a nanny or you can leave the kids with someone else. But there’s a lot of other things you can do to keep up your fitness in this difficult time of your life. And it has a bonus: your kids will want to do whatever you do, so if you do exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle, the chances of having healthy children who do exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle are much higher.

Here are some ideas of exercise you can do even though you’re a busy parent:

  1. “Pram”-mill. It’s awesome how pushing the pram for an hour can elevate your heart rate. If you have a newborn or a baby who cannot walk yet, you can put your shoes on and go for a nice fast walk pushing the pram.
  2. “Play”-fit. Your kids can run and are a bit more active? Perfect! Join them in that amazing CrossFit session you’re about to have. Kids need to play tough (run, jump, throw things around, let them fall on the floor and get a couple of scratches) and there’s nothing they’ll enjoy more than playing tough with you around. Join their fun and you’ll end up needing a shower.
  3. “Kidnastics”. Instead of just watching your kids doing gymnastics, join them! Depending on the age (and the sport centre) they’ll let you help the kid doing the exercises. A couple of weeks ago I took a girl I babysit to her gymnastic class. She’s just 2 so she needed my assistance. I don’t know who was sweating more!

  1. Simple exercises like squats, push ups, planks, biceps curls, among many others, are exercises that any kid can do, and are adapted to do in any setting. Have a break from watching TV or keeping your ass on the chair and start doing some exercise. Two things may happen: your kids will get bored and start playing with their toys, or they’ll want to join and do whatever you’re doing.
  2. The playground is your new gym. Don’t be ashamed of doing it (in a safe way). Kids want to play with you, and from my experience, even now that I am a “grown up”, I enjoy playing at the playground a lot. This is the perfect excuse to go on the slide or the swing without people staring at you funny.
  3. Walk everywhere! It doesn’t matter if it’s raining, they (and you) will be fine. Let them get wet and why not, muddy! If you need to clean the house afterwards, let’s be it. Cleaning is also a good exercise, and you can encourage them to give you a hand. After a fun day like that they’ll be more keen on helping out.

If you manage to do your normal physical activity even though you have kids, congratulations! Make sure you bring them over to watch you. Kids want to be like their mum and dad, so there’s nothing like seeing you being healthy for them to be healthy.

Once your kids are old enough, encourage them to join you. Not only will you get your physical activity done, but you’ll implement a great habit on them as well.

This last bit is probably the most important. Mummies, I know you’re important for them. The first year of their lives, you are more important than anyone else. That doesn’t mean you’re alone and you have to do all by yourself, forgetting completely about you and looking after yourself. A good way to look after them and ensure a healthy future for your children is being healthy and leading by example. Dads of the world, you must always team up with your partners. It’s unfair that women have to stop their lives, their careers, their self-care, and you get to continue with your lives as if nothing happened. Something really big happened! And both parents should be able to continue with their personal development making adjustments from both sides.

That’s it for today! I really hope that you enjoy these little tips. If you like what I do and you want to support this project, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, like the post and comment! Should you have a feedback you’d like to leave, a comment to share with me, or a cool idea for a post, send me an email to sanchisayslifestyle@gmail.com

Thank you!

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