Parents Who Exercise: Overcoming the Challenges
8 tips for staying active when you have kids.
Exercise Tip for Parents No. 5: Establish Family Fitness
If you want your children to know the value of fitness, exercise with
With infants and toddlers, go for brisk walks with the baby in the stroller,
says Chipko. While they nap during the day, fit in some fitness --- doing basic
lunges, squats, push-ups, and crunches.
"These are all things that don’t require any equipment or space and don’t
take a lot of time," Schoenfeld says.
With preschool to school-aged children, strive for family fitness. Go to the
park, ride bikes, hike, and swim while the weather’s nice. In the winter,
ice-skate, snowshoe, cross-country ski, or go sledding.
"Physical activity time also provides a great opportunity to talk with your
kids," adds Keller. "But sometimes, just doing something with them is
worth more than we realize."
"Your desire to be physically active with your child will usually force a
creative solution to do so," says Keller. "You may be the only parent who is
jogging around your kid's soccer practice field, but your kid will get used to
Exercise Tip for Parents No. 6: Set Goals
The very first step to staying fit or regaining fitness is to want it, say
"Motivation comes from within," says Schoenfeld. "I can’t motivate someone
if they don’t have a reason to do something."
Set short-term goals, says Schoenfeld, so as not to overwhelm yourself. If
it’s four sizes you need to lose, start with one. If it’s 20 pounds, set a more
manageable goal of 1-2 pounds per week.
Most people go too far and say, ‘I want to run a marathon,’" says Chipko.
"That’s too big."
Goals have to be realistic, says Chipko: "If your goal is to look like Kelly
Ripa or Angelina Jolie, your determination is going to be crushed if you work
out and eat yogurt for a week and you don’t look like them."
Exercise Tip for Parents No. 7: Put In the Effort
Don’t expect to get fit overnight, warns Chipko. "It’s a matter of putting
time in. Anything worth having is hard. There is work involved."
But, you say, fitting in work and everything needed to run a household is
hard enough. Who needs the added pressure of squeezing in a workout?
The truth, Keller says, is that exercise will actually give you more energy
to tackle the tasks always hanging over your head.
And somewhere along the line, says Chipko, exercise will become a habit.
"People always ask me how long it’s going to take," he says. "Everybody
wants that quick fix."
It may take a month, it may take a year, he says, but when you reach a goal
you set on your own, it’s much more rewarding.