Anyone can have a hard time making exercise part of their routine. But throw kids into the mix, and it can almost feel impossible.
Why is it so hard for busy parents to exercise? Often it comes down to motivation.
“Parents typically don’t get enough sleep and spend their days constantly responding to needs of another human being,” says Dominique Wakefield, a personal trainer and wellness coach based in Berrien Springs, MI. “That combination is emotionally and physically draining, which leads to less motivation for physical activity.”
It’s easy to put exercise on your “wouldn’t it be nice” list, but fitness is too important to keep on the back burner.
“There are so many health benefits that come from being physically active, like reducing your risk for chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, but it’s especially important for parents to stay fit,” Wakefield says. “Plus, working out can give you more energy and reduce stress -- extra benefits that parents especially need.”
Another reason to be an active parent: You'll set a great example for your kid. “Children learn behavior by what they see around them, and it starts early,” Wakefield says. “So when kids see their parents exercise, they become likelier to be active as adults.”
Try these four tricks to tap into some surprising sources of motivation, making it easier than ever to reach your fitness goals.
Become an early bird. Willpower isn’t an unlimited resource -- the more you use it throughout the day, the less you have left at night to force yourself to go to the gym. That’s why some people get in their workouts in the morning, when their drive is at its maximum levels.
And that’s not the only reason to become a morning exerciser. “If you wait until later in the day, it’s a lot likelier that things will pop up and get in the way of working out,” Wakefield says. “Your kids go to bed early, so do the same. That way you can wake up and work out, knowing that you’ve already done something for yourself that day.”