They say that parenthood is the scariest hood you’ll ever go through, and I tend to agree. When’s the last time you went to the bathroom alone? If you’ve used dry shampoo for at least three days in a row, and you also haven’t changed your shirt in that period of time, you’re probably a parent. So you probably find it laughable that I’m here to talk to you about the importance of finding time to exercise. I mean, sticking to an exercise program can be challenging under the best of circumstances. But add a kid, or six, to the mix and squeezing in a workout can seem impossible. After all, how can you find time to exercise if you can’t even go to the bathroom without a little person clinging to your legs?
But since exercise is critical for your well-being (and theirs, too), finding a way to squeeze it in should be at the top of your priority list. Not only will this commitment enhance your overall health, it also offers an opportunity to model healthy behavior for your children. Watching you sweat shows them that exercise helps them be healthy, fit and strong. It will also boost your energy, so you’ll have the stamina to keep up with them. Okay, it increases your chances of keeping up with them – where do toddlers get all that energy? Seriously.
So, how can you find the time? It’s actually a matter of making time, and it may be easier than you think. Since there are only 24 hours in a day, and there’s nothing you can do to change that (I know, I’ve tried writing my local congressman) you have to work with what you’ve got. But a little forethought and preparation will go a long way toward helping you fit workouts into your routine — no matter what your kids’ ages.
Here are a few strategies that I’ve tried myself and have also seen work for other parents:
Make an appointment
You make an appointment to see your dentist, the pediatrician, attend an important meeting, and you most likely keep those appointments. So, why not exercise? If you block time in your calendar to exercise, just like you would any other appointment, you’ll be more likely to stay on track. Figuring out the best time for you is key, whether it’s on your lunch break (yes, you can) before you go to work, or after dinner, find a time that you can commit to and pencil (no, sharpie) in exercise. And don’t be afraid to ask your partner or a sitter to step in so you can hit the gym.
Do lunges in front of your child’s high chair during meal times (and make it into a game of peek-a-boo). Push into a plank position while reading short stories to your toddler, and sprint up and down the stairs while you’re doing the laundry. As you near the end of the night, do push-ups, sit-ups and lunges during the commercial breaks of your favorite shows. Just flex your creative muscles to find ways to sneak in exercise.
Include your kids
You don’t need to be alone to get a solid workout. Instead, incorporate your kids into your plan to get fit. Use exercise balls, resistance bands and other props to make exercise more fun for them. Play a game of chase in the backyard, shoot hoops, or take them with you to work out. At 9Round, for instance, children who are at least 10 years of age, and are tall enough to safely punch and kick, can join mom and/or dad for a 30-minute sweat sesh.
More intensity = less time
Finding 60 minutes to workout can be tough when you have young kids. Instead, try exercising at a higher intensity for a shorter period of time. 30 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), such as the 9Round workout, will yield results in a shorter period of time and you’ll burn calories for hours after the workout.
Choose any one, or a combination of these strategies, for 30 minutes, three times each week, and you’ll be well on your way to leading a healthier lifestyle. And when life gets in the way—as it inevitably does—give yourself a break. A couple days without exercise won’t derail your goals or diminish your commitment to fitness. The key is getting back on the bag and keep fighting to make your well-being a priority. Once you’ve blocked out your “me time” (with a sharpie) head on over to 9Round. Your first workout is free, and if you are giving us 30 minutes of your time, we’ll make sure it’s the best 30 minutes of your day!