Parents, especially those with young children or a bigger family know all too well that finding ‘spare time’ in the day can be near impossible. Between broken sleep, dropping kids off at school, attending weekend and after school sports, and managing busy work schedules, the phrase ‘spare time’ inevitably gets dropped from a parent's vocabulary. But creating some time here and there for a workout can do the world of good for your body and mind – even if it’s only for a few hours each week.
While running around after children can sometimes feel as exhausting as running a marathon, and as strenuous as a gym session, there are multiple benefits that come from regular exercise. From increased strength and flexibility, to relaxation and reduced stress, exercise can be a way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. And there are many ways to stay active that can easily slot into your regular routine. Some weeks may be easier to manage than others, but the key is to seize opportunities as they arise. Because sooner or later, the kids will probably become faster and fitter – eek!
Keeping up with the kids
As the kids are running up and down the field or court, use this opportunity to stretch your legs while also cheering them on. While it’s probably one of the rare opportunities to sit down during the day, try to find the motivation to keep moving – stretch, squat or stroll. If they are swimming laps with an instructor, throw on the swimmers and make a splash. It may feel like a lot of effort, but at least you’ll both be getting a workout in at the same time.
Walk in, walk out workout
If you can find the time, attending a regular group fitness class, such as cardio, boxing or HIIT (high-intensity interval training) means you don’t have to think about planning your workout. You can simply walk in, work out, then walk out feeling energised and with a clearer mind. Some gyms will even offer a creche service and kids’ activities so you don’t need to arrange a sitter. Group fitness classes are also a great way to connect with other mums and share tips for staying active with a family.
Lounge room lunges
If getting to a regular class is just not possible – which is often the case for many mums – consider attending the lounge room gym. After the kids are tucked in, lace up your runners and set up a circuit. Or for mind-body wellness, roll out a mat and practice Pilates. The best part is, you don’t need any equipment, just 30-60 minutes, a mat and a motivated mind. It’s free and you can still keep a watchful eye on any little ones who wander out of bed.