Even Busy Mothers Can Find Time to Exercise
Guest Post by Amy Brown
Everyone benefits from exercise, and everyone who does not exercise has a plausible excuse for not doing so. Usually, they say that they don’t have enough time. For most people, that excuse is a copout. For mothers, however, it’s believable. Mothers are always busy shopping, cooking, feeding, chauffeuring, and attending things. Who has time to exercise?
Ideally, you should make exercising a priority and schedule at least 30 minutes a day for exercise. Regular exercise will help you to maintain a healthy weight, give you needed energy, tone your muscles, maintain a healthy heart, and most importantly for mothers, reduce stress. If you really can’t find time for exercise, find ways to weave it into your daily duties of motherhood. What you do and when you do it depends upon the ages of the children whom you are mothering.
Mothers with preschoolers
How you exercise when tending to preschoolers depends upon their ages. With infants, it’s easy. Get a First Years Wave Stroller and jog or run with them when the weather is nice. A daily long walk at a steady pace is excellent aerobic exercise, and no special stroller is needed. Just be sure to bring an assortment of snacks and a few soft toys to keep the baby happy during the walk or run.
When the child gets too big for the jogging stroller, but too little to join you in a long walk, consider a bicycle seat for the child. He’ll enjoy a long ride with you doing all of the pedaling. Bicycling is a great way to shape the legs and increase aerobic performance. You can also take long walks while pulling the child in the old standard “little red wagon”. He can walk when he feels like it and ride when he’s tired. Either way, you get to exercise.
When you have an older toddler that is almost ready for school, he or she usually has enough vitality and energy to provide you with plenty of exercise just keeping up. Use this energy to your advantage. Take the child to a public park or school playground. He can play on the equipment while you run around the periphery. You can work on your upper body strength while pushing the child on a swing or providing rotary power for the merry-go-round.
When you’re home or the weather is bad play an aerobic exercise video. The child will usually try to copy you as you labor through the exercise steps. Buy a set of dumbbells for you and a light plastic toy set of dumbbells for the child. He’ll undoubtedly copy your actions for a while. And don’t forget the power of a good cartoon DVD to keep the child busy while you practice your exercise routine.
Mothers with grade schoolers
Exercising gets a bit easier with grade schoolers. They are at an age when they can participate in the exercises. On nice days, the community playground or a local school athletic field is a great place to exercise. There is usually an area with standard playground equipment like swings, slides, see-saws, and merry-go-rounds that can keep the children busy while you jog around the perimeter. Don’t let the kids have all the fun, enjoy your workout by spending some time on the swings. This will limber up and strengthen your leg muscles and provide you with excellent aerobic exercise. Working out on the monkey bars in competition with the kids will provide them with important exercise while you improve your upper body strength.
If you have a community swimming pool with structured family swimming, you can do your prescribed laps around the pool while the kids play under the watchful eyes of the pool supervisors. Challenge the older kids to an occasional race. You’ll get plenty of exercise trying to keep up with them. Don’t be surprised if they win!
Get your children involved with you in a competitive sport: tennis, basketball, volley ball, badminton, or other similar sport. It will provide you with family fun as well as exercise. Rollerblading or roller skating is another great exercise to enjoy with the kids. Just don’t be surprised if they can out race and out distance you. Kids seem born to stand up on anything with wheels!
Mothers with teenagers
When the children are toddlers, you are compelled to fit them into your exercise plans simply because your primary responsibility is to ensure that they are properly supervised and cared for while you exercise. When the children become teenagers, however, the emphasis shifts markedly. Exercising with them involves their finding time, or quite frankly the inclination, to spend time with you. You’ll find it easier for you to set aside time for exercise, but will have to work at making exercise a regular part of family life for the benefit of the children as well as for you. These are the years when you can participate in more challenging activities that do not require as much direct parental input and attention. As a family you and your teenagers can enjoy canoeing, bike riding, ice skating, downhill skiing, water skiing, and hiking. You’ll find these exercise activities a great way to bond with your fast growing teenagers, and to retard the inevitable advance of your aging process.
About the author:
Amy Brown, a stay-at-home mom, is an editor of Livesnet, a site offering baby gear reviews and parenting tips. She’s surely willing to share her own experience and tips.