Exercising with Kids – How on earth can you find the time?
Aaaah, those halcyon years BC – before children. Do you ever look back and wonder what you did with all that free time?
Remember when you could leave the house in five minutes flat and walk out with just a purse and a phone? Perhaps you thought nothing of spending a few hours casually browsing around Miranda Fair, stopping for a coffee catch-up with friends? And, how many of you were fair dinkum gym bunnies, but now find it difficult to squeeze in even one short workout per week, now that you have little ones?
With so many demands on busy mums, it’s no surprise that exercise is often the first thing that slips by the wayside. Whether you’re at the beck and call of a newborn, wrangling a toddler or shuttling kids to a packed schedule of after-school activities, squeezing in time to sweat can feel like an impossibility. After all, how are you supposed to find time for a workout when you can’t even go to the bathroom undisturbed?
Luckily Mums of the Shire has asked our favourite and trusted local fitness experts to share their tips for making exercise a reality AND a priority!
Take your kids with you
Depending on the age of your kids there are a few options…
“For new mums, bub’s schedule definitely comes first, but you need to look after yourself too!” Advised Laura Verbitsky of CrossFit Mums & Bubs, a Caringbah-based exercise group where you can take baby with you. She continued: “I am a firm believer in happy mum equals happy baby, that’s why our classes are designed so mums can bring their babies along and workout while they sleep or play. Classes go for an hour, but if you need to feed or attend to bub, you can just jump back in when you’re ready and catch up. Even if you get 10 mins, that’s something.”
If bubs is a little more clingy and leaving them in the pram or on a rug while you exercise isn’t realistic, perhaps consider Kanga Training – specifically designed so you can wear baby in your preferred baby carrier to get both a cardiovascular and strength workout. Classes take place at various locations around the Shire.
For those with older kids, Katelyn Clarke, who runs KommandoK8 fitness and boot camps in Miranda is a firm believer in getting them involved. She said: “Pre-teens can spend a lot of time on electronic devices, and you are their number one role model. Try physical activities, that get them involved. Take them for a bike or scooter ride around the block, go for a swim at your local pool and do a couple laps with them (great if they have a carnival coming up!), play “Just Dance” on WII. As long as you’re moving and having fun; it won’t even feel like exercising, but you’ll be reaping the health benefits.”
Exercise when they are asleep
As a mum of two, with another on the way, Kimmy Smith knows exactly how hard it is to find the time to exercise. She created the Fit Mummy Project – an App workout that guides mums through high-quality workouts which they can do at home. She said: “If you can only find 10-15 minutes per day, a home workout is a great option. If you’re lucky enough to have a child who sleeps through the night, set your alarm to wake up 15 minutes earlier. A quick workout and meditation combination can help you to feel energised and calm for the rest of the day.” Kimmy has also put together some recommended exercises for new mums.
Find a gym with excellent child minding facilities
The kids get to make friends and play with new toys, and, you get to workout! Everyone gets a break from each other and you all go home tired (fingers crossed for a day nap). Crunch Fitness, Caringbah offers childminding facilities, while Nuff’s Fitness in Sutherland offers a nanny service, so you can enjoy a one-hour workout without distraction.
In addition, there are several public pools in the Sutherland Shire, which have subsidised creche facilities, kids are supervised in a well-equipped playroom while you bust out a few laps in the pool. It’s also a great option for those hot sticky days where you might not want to workout in the sun.
Make exercise a priority
Add workouts to your diary or calendar and try to do them first thing. It’s easy to be distracted by housework and other chores, so do it as soon as your time window becomes available. Also, if your workout time is marked on the family calendar, it’s out there and everyone knows, that way there’s (hopefully) no double bookings. Organisation is also key; pack everything up the night before, so all you need to do it pull on your shoes and grab your keys!
Make the most of days when you don’t have your kids
If you’re working and have care organised, then make the most of it. Choose active transport – walking or cycling – for your journey to work, or schedule something for your lunch break. This way you only need to worry about yourself and you’ll probably find you’re more productive in the afternoon because of it. You could even rope in your workmates to join you and keep you accountable.
Focus on quality not quantity
“Anything is better than nothing!” Advises Katelyn Clarke, she continued: “A fifteen to twenty minute walk each day adds up to two hours of walking per week, which is much better for you than not doing anything at all.”
Just do it!
If it’s been a while since you did any type of exercise, the hardest thing is to just start. And, while every qualified exercise physiologist in the land will tell you that you don’t need any special equipment (absolutely true), sometimes treating yourself to some spunky new gym gear can be just the thing you need to get you out there and moving. Do what you need to make it happen. Take it slowly if you must, but the most important thing is to start. Good luck!
If you’re looking for local fitness groups and gyms, please visit the Mums of the Shire website and take a look at our extensive Fitness and Sports listings, you’re sure to find something that suits your situation and location. And, don’t forget to share any progress and/or success stories with our Mums of the Shire Facebook community.