Exercising as a family

Exercising as a family

The proven benefits of leading an active life are well known. Yet the reality of achieving the recommended 30 minutes a day of physical activity seems impossible for so many, especially those with a family.

With parenthood comes an interesting yet real paradox. On one hand, our life is so busy that in order to fulfil our responsibilities as a parent, especially a working one, we don’t have time for regular workouts. Yet on the other hand, if we don’t exercise regularly, it hinders our ability to be the best parent we can be, both physically and mentally.

As a working mother of two young children, I completely understand the challenge of scheduling exercise into life. However with my kids being my biggest motivator, I know I must find the time.

How do I achieve this?

I no longer view my parenting responsibilities as a roadblock to achieving fitness goals. I have chosen to schedule exercise time with my children, instead of around them. This provides both physical and emotional benefits for the whole family by allowing for quality time and family bonding, whilst gaining the benefits of physical activity.

Just as, or perhaps more importantly, when you lead an active lifestyle, you help inspire your children to be active. Research shows that parents are their childrens' most influential role model and they are more likely to do what you do, than do what you say. With children and teens less active than ever, spending much of their downtime watching TV, on computers or playing video games, exercising as a family provides even further benefit.

If you think you are too busy to exercise regularly, here are some ways to overcome it by getting fit with your family:

Bond with your baby through exercise (children 0-2)

Don’t wait till your baby is asleep to fit in your exercise. Exercise with your baby by using him/her as resistance or interaction. For example push up kisses, or squats holding your baby. For 48 ways you can work-out with your baby check out www.babyweights.com.au

Embrace your inner child and play with your kids (children 2-12)

Focus on having fun. With younger kids, have fun with them in the local playground. Climb on the monkey bars with them, push them on the swings, climb the frames with them. As they become more physically capable, play games that encourage movement such as hopscotch, chasey, hide and seek, jump rope, hula hoop, trampoline jumping, frisbee and ball games. For older kids, set up some challenges.

For example, see who can balance on one leg the longest, or crab crawl races. Let your imagination have some fun. Most kids love challenging their parents and they will not even realise they are exercising.

Encourage functional exercise (children 4-18)

Do physical activity that has a purpose. As a family you can walk the dog, ride bikes to do local errands, weed the garden, hand wash the car, do house chores, walk, ride or scoot to school, etc.

Have a Boogie (all ages)

Pump the music and have a dance in your living room. No matter what age dancing is a great way to move your body. It will also bring the added benefit of laughing together.

Pool play (children 5-18)

As an adult you might think of swimming laps when you think of exercising in the pool, but there are lots of ways to exercise in the water. Practice your handstands with your kids. Instead of just throwing objects in the water for your kids, dive down with them to collect them, have them ride on your back as you swim through the water, have jumping races in the shallow end, and play pool games like Marco Polo.

Train together. (children 10-18) 

If you have older kids, go on runs or brisk walks together. As an extra motivator, measure and time your runs/walks. For the more adventurous, try rock climbing or rollerblading. You can also involve your younger kids while you train by having them ride their bikes while you walk or jog.

By joining your children in daily physical activity, you’ll all benefit from spending quality time together as well as the obvious health benefits. A family that exercises together, stays happy and healthy together.

 

 

 

Hey Mama, It’s not a tattoo!

HEY MAMA, IT’S NOT A TATTOO!

The starting of an exercise program is often the hardest part. Starting anything new, whether it’s personal or business related can be overwhelming making it hard to begin.

I recently came across a great phrase in a blog article from Karen Gunton-  http://buildalittlebiz.com, which said “It’s not a tattoo”. This was in relation to business but the same concept is true for starting anything, including an exercise program. You don’t need to wait for the situation to be just right  in order to start, we often don’t even figure out what’s just right until we begin. An exercise program is not permanent like a tattoo and can be changed daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly and so on. You can do what suits you best at the time. Of course specific exercise programs will help you achieve specific goals, however the most important thing is just to get started. Once you start the specifics can be further tailored to your desired outcome.

So no matter how fit you currently are or how much exercise you’ve done or not done in your past, JUST GET STARTED!

Below is a sample babyweights program to get your started. This is a simple program that requires little time and caters for all fitness levels.  There are many exercises that you can do that provide results without any resistance at all.  Babyweights uses your baby as your resistance , however you can use a traditional dumbbell, your pet or even a household item.  For those mums who choose to follow this babyweights program to get started, it will allow you to bond and play with your baby while you exercise. Simple, fun and effective, great ingredients to help you get started!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chest Press

  • Lie on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor
  • Hold your baby around her/his chest and lie her/him      tummy down on your chest
  • Straighten your arms and raise your baby into the air
  • Lower your baby to your chest
  • Repeat

Pelvic Tilt

  • Lie on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor
  • Place your baby on your hips or chest and tilt your pelvis inward, bringing your pubic bone toward your naval
  • Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles and hold for 5-10 seconds
  • Release  hold
  • Repeat

Be sure not to squeeze your butt muscles whilst performing exercise

Hip Raise           

  • Lie on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor
  • Place your baby on your hips, tilt your pelvis inward and squeeze your glutes
  • Slowly raise your hips into the air and hold for 3-5 seconds
  • Lower to floor
  • Repeat

 Be sure not to turn your neck throughout the exercise

Perform 12-15 reps of each exercise and as there is only 3 exercises in this simple starter program I suggest repeating each exercise 3 times.

One day you may look back on your first run or what resistance you used to squat and criticise  yourself or think how weak or unfit you were. Don’t judge your starting point. Instead be grateful as it reminds us how far we have come and it validates your courage to get started.

Remember as the phrase “it’s not a tattoo” says, your exercise program today is not permanent, it will continue to change as you and your situation does. So don’t wait for the perfect moment, the perfect exercise program and the perfect amount of time, because who knows what you thought was the perfect situation might not be that perfect after all.