As a mom, it’s easy to put yourself last and prioritize other’s needs before yours – for many this means that exercise will take the back-burner. The less active we are the less energy we get, and the circle of bad habits begins. Recognize yourself?
I find that we often set ourselves up for failure by being bipolar and committing to exercising or not. Exercise does not need to be a focused 45 – 60-minute class to benefit us. Instead, incorporating it throughout the day can be just as effective. Here are a few effective ways to incorporate exercise during the S.I.P with or without your family.
What works for our family is planning exercise into our schedule. This helps us avoid any hesitations from the kids or get lost in the moment of “to-do’s”. It turns out that the kids end up being the once expecting us to do exercise with them and they hold us accountable. That’s a good thing!
In addition to planning, we often have the kids create the exercise. Here are a few ways of creating a workout with the kids selecting the exercises making them feel more engaged.
· Have them pick an exercise for the warm-up and lead that exercise. This builds confidence, fitness, and makes them feel engaged and empowered to be in charge of their own health. Take turns to pick exercises and warm-up for 5-10 minutes.
· Create an exercise circuit that engages them and makes it fun. This could be a circuit in the backyard where you switch off from one exercise to the other every 45 seconds. The child might choose push-ups, you select plank, they choose jumping jacks…and so on. Doing 7-10 exercises 3 times around will give you a good 30-minute circuit. See sample below :)
Start the circuit with push-up hand clap, roll your way over to the next station, get into your see-saw lunges and inch worm your way over to the next station. Do your see-saw partner pulls and frog jump to sit-ups with a clap. Finally, get into a plank position and “walk” your way back to the first station. Repeat and Have FUN!
Using a count up/down ladder makes it more engaging and fun for kids. This structure builds on the anticipation of what’s to come. You’ll start with 10 reps of an exercise, followed by 9 reps, 8 reps and so forth. This should be different exercises, of course, but it allows them to know how far they’ve come and how much more to do.
· Another fun game is to use the deck of cards and assign an exercise for each suite. For example, diamonds are high knees, spades are sit-ups, hearts are jump squats, and clovers are jumping jacks. You have your kids pick a card from the deck and that’s the exercise you’ll do for that number of repetitions. In this case, it might be that you pull a 7 of hearts, which means 7 jump squats. Once you’re done with the exercise next person draws a card, and so on. I usually take out any cards 5 and under to allow for enough repetition of each exercise. Have fun!
Even though exercising with the kids might be fun, sometimes we need to get exercise done without our family. During the summertime it can be even more challenging to find time and energy to exercise on our own. However, I find that being aware of your options makes you more likely to execute on them. Albeit small, these strategies gets it done in a day.
· Before heading into the shower, few will notice an additional 5-10 minutes. Take the time before you jump in the shower for a quick 5-minute mini-circuit. This might be, 10 push-ups, 15 plank side-steps repeat 3 times.
· While doing your laundry, find a few exercises to alternate while you are folding the laundry. Make it a game…green socks mean 10 squats, white socks mean 10 push-ups, and so on. Again, this might add up to a good 10-minute mini-circuit.
· Taking the kids to the park? Find a bench and do a mini circuit. Lots of exercises can be done on a bench and other equipment at the park (if you can access them due to the Covid-19). Here is a circuit I often do at the park while the kids are running around: 10 squats (touch but don’t sit down), 10 push-ups, 10 triceps dips, 30 second plank, 30 second mountain climbers, 10 walking lunges repeat 3 times. Another 5-10-minute mini circuit done!