Exercise is such an important thing in our lives. Yet it is the first thing that seems to go when time gets pinched or when “life” takes over. Motherhood is such a selfless thing. Doing things for yourself is often first to go. There are things that you can do to increase your exercise while raising an awesome family. When your kids are little it is difficult to find time to do it, but there are so many benefits to exercise…increased energy, healthier, sleep better, better mental health, physical health, live longer, lose weight, and increased social opportunities (if you find a friend to do it with you). It is also beneficial for your kids to exercise and to see your example as you exercise.
I love spending time with my kids! We do a lot of fun, active things together. Sometimes I like to work exercise into our routine with my kids. There are a lot of fun things to do. Here are only a few options you could try.
- Go on a bike ride together. When our kids were little, we started them out in a double bike trailer (Which the kids loved!), then they had a small bike with training wheels (which is the slowest part), slowly moving them up to bigger bikes. Until finally they upgraded to full-size bikes. Now, I have a hard time keeping up with them! We found the bike trailer and some of the bikes at yard sales and thrift stores. If you just have one little kid, I’d recommend a bike seat instead of a trailer. Go explore your neighborhood! This is great exercise for everyone and the kids really do love it!
- Play sports together. We have had neighborhood soccer, basketball, and laser tag games. We’ve also played pickleball, softball, volleyball, football, tennis, raquetball, golf, and swimming together. There are so many options for sports you can do together. Try one out today and get some neighbors involved too!
- Go for walks together. Put the little kids in the stroller and go. We started out with a double umbrella stroller. I loved going for walks with my neighbor moms. We had some great talks…and it was so good to get out and have adult conversations. When the kids were a little older we would have them walk. We used to bribe them by stopping at every park along the walk. That definitely motivated them, but takes a lot of time. Now they are a little older, we bring a football with and they pass it back and forth as we walk. Or we’ll tell them funny stories from our lives. Sometimes, my husband and I will go on a walk alone. It is so therapeutic for our relationship. I love the time we have together to walk and talk.
- Run a 5K together as a family. Or even walk it. There are lots of race options and so many good causes as well. We did one together and it was a lot of fun. We just went for walks together to prepare.
- Find workouts you can do with your kids. I used to do exercise DVDs with my kids in the room. I also love the ones that you incorporate the kid into the workout. Check out these: Here, Here, Here, or Here. You could do a Summer of 100 miles-where you walk, hike, bike for 100 miles!
- Workout on your own. Go to the gym or stay home and get a used workout DVDs on Amazon.com. Or I found lots of great ones at the thrift store. Some of my favorite workout DVDs are anything by Chalene Johnson, 21 Day Fix, Real Appeal (which I found at a thrift store), and any kickboxing or step workouts. I have a neighbor that teaches High Fitness and it is really fun to go to her classes. It doesn’t take nearly as much coordination as the Zumba classes, so I do a little better there. Find something that motivates you to do it and just do it!
- Hiking-we love going for hikes together. If you live near any mountains take advantage of being in nature. It really seems to bring our family closer together. And it is great exercise! When the kids were little we would pack them in a backpack. As they got a little older we would let them walk some and piggy-back some of the time. It is slow going at first but keep at it. Now my kids are great hikers.
- Play some active games on the Wii; Have a dance off, play a sport, (tennis is a fun one), pretty much any athletic game that gets you up and moving.
How do you find time to exercise? You have to find the time and make it a priority. Days when I was working, I had to get up earlier to exercise. It usually meant I had to go to bed earlier. Some people go out on lunch break to workout. When the kids are old enough to leave we would put them to bed and go out for a walk. Or get up before the kids to workout. Some gyms have a daycare option while you workout. When my kids were little we would go to the local church and I or another mom would teach a class for the moms while the kids played on the other side of the gym. My kids loved it because it was a play date for them. Now I just workout in my basement. I have so many options for workout DVDs now that I do a lot of different workouts. I try to alternate toning and cardio and the treadmill.
Set an example for your kids of what good health looks like. My dad had a heart attack when he was in his 50s. It got him on the treadmill every day after that. He’s now in his 80s and has tried to exercise 6 days a week ever since. My mom found a water aerobic class and now makes sure that she goes there or rides her exercise bike. They have taught me that I need to exercise to have better health and that it is possible even when it seems difficult. I want my kids to see my example of good health and follow me as well.
Exercise helps improve your quality of life. For sure, when I am working out consistently, I notice I can keep up with my kids, that I have more energy throughout the day, and I just feel happier and better. Don’t worry so much about your size, but rather how it makes you feel! I know it will help you be a better you as you try to add more exercise to your life. Start with a few days a week for a few weeks. Then you can add more to it. I am now working out 6 days a week and it makes such a difference!
Sites that inspired me.