Once your kids get a bit older, you won’t need this advice so much. But in the early years, it can be pretty challenging to keep up with an exercise routine! These tips work even for busy single parents who don’t have much help. And remember—taking care of yourself is incredibly important. You give so much to your child(ren) and giving back to yourself helps keep you healthy (and yes, sane).
Here are five (relatively) easy ways to sneak in more exercise while your kiddos are still young:
- Pack ‘em. Invest in a decent backpack (or Rebozo, depending on how old your little one is and what works for you). Sure, it’s more challenging to walk or hike with a baby strapped to your back (or your front via the Rebozo), but it’s a way to get outside and increase your fitness level, especially when you don’t have help with childcare.And hey, you can also think of it as weight training! I still remember how strong I felt when I was finally able to take walks without my kiddo strapped to my body. It felt like I was flying! So, think about how strong you’re getting, and how much of a superstar you are for not making excuses.
- Get a Jogging Stroller. Even if you’re not a runner, it’s so helpful to be able to put your tiny human in a stroller so that you can get moving. Of course, you’ll have to wait til your little one is old enough to be placed in a stroller, but once they are, it’s a little taste of freedom! No more having to put them in the backpack every time you want to take a walk. And if you have a decent jogging stroller, you can pick up the pace and cover different types of terrain.
- Pop in a DVD. Stuck at home with your baby or young child? Remember—where there’s a will, there’s a way! You can still get some exercise right in your living room just by having a motivating DVD to move along with. You can try anything from Zumba to yoga to Pilates—whatever speaks to you. There are also exercise apps and programs on TV you can use. Spend a little time researching the best format for you, as well as the kinds of exercise that sound the most enjoyable. Then, no matter what it’s like outside, or whether or not you have childcare, you can still get plenty of exercise without ever leaving your house.
- Strategize. Do you have a window of time in the morning or evening—or during naptime? Think about your days, and make a plan to prioritize exercise. And remember that this is not about perfection! Even a few minutes here and there add up. Progress, not perfection, dear one.
- Invest in home equipment. Yes, this is a bit more expensive than the other options, but it actually doesn’t have to cost too much. One of the best ways to stay active when you’re a busy parent is to make fitness as easy as possible. I’ve always found it so helpful to have a recumbent bike or treadmill in my house, as it gets me moving no matter what else I have going on. I also suggest placing your exercise equipment somewhere that makes sense. Sure, a treadmill may affect the feng shui of your living room, but if it makes you happier and healthier to get regular exercise, and if you’re more likely to jump on the treadmill when it’s somewhere convenient, isn’t it worth it?