If you still have children living at home then there is a good chance that they have an impact on your fitness. Be it little babies and the stress that pregnancy puts on a woman’s body or simply spending all your free time being dad’s taxi rather than exercising.
I speak from very personal experience when I say that if you’re not careful this can have an impact a lot worse than an extra inch or two on your waistline. My lack of exercise after my daughter was born and subsequent hours spent lifting/carrying/rocking resulted in a severe spasm in the discs in my back.
Within 5 minutes of doing it I couldn’t walk and then spent 2 days lying on the lounge floor barely able to move. 18 months later I was finally given the all clear by the Chiropractor and with the birth of our second a few months before that resolved never to get in that situation again.
But it’s not easy, like many the combination of work and personal life doesn’t give a lot of opportunity to keep fit. But I have a few tips to share that I’ve found really useful:
- You don’t need to go to a gym; no really forget signing up for an expensive membership that you’ll probably never use. Everything you need to do to keep healthy can be done at home (or in the fresh air of course).
- Do some Pilates; if you do nothing else then do this. Seriously done once or twice a week will help you avoid an awful lot of problems. It strengthens your core muscles in a very relaxing and calm way meaning low chance of injury. But it works the very muscles you will use to lift and carry your children and helps de-stress as an added bonus. Get yourself a DVD and you can do it from the comfort of you lounge once the children are asleep, no equipment necessary.
- Walk at least twice a week; preferably more, get out in the fresh air and walk. Better still take your children with you. Find a big park or nice forest where you can explore and do at least 30 minutes of walking. If it’s the weekend why not make a day of it and take a picnic? If you have small children like me get a rucksack carrier which gives the added bonus of a legs workout as you climb up hills. Sure beats doing squats in the gym. Doing some Geocaching is also a great way to make the walk more interesting and they are literally everywhere just download an app to your phone.
- Make use of your lunchtimes; we have a shower room at work so I often head out for a lunchtime run. Much better than just sitting eating and doesn’t take up personal time with the family.
- Posture; linked to Pilates of course but making sure you’re sitting correctly and lifting correctly is really important. If you have small children then making sure you do the classic lifting with your legs and not your back will save you a whole lot of aches and pains.
If you find it hard to keep a exercise regime going for any period then why not enter a race or challenge to keep you motivated? Surprising how knowing you have that date in the future can keep you going. I’ve signed up for a big challenge in September precisely for that reason, you can read more about it here.
Those are my tips, what do you think? How have you kept fit and healthy as a parent?