As a busy parent, finding the time to stay fit and active isn’t simple. It requires planning and organisation to make it happen, and there will be days when you just won’t get any free time to yourself. As if having to consider your current children didn’t make it difficult enough, being pregnant adds an extra layer of complexity, as your energy and motivation might not be as high as normal. Pregnant or not, don’t let the kids stop you from getting your exercise fix. Here are some tips to help you make it happen.
Pound the pavement
If there’s one upside to modern parenting, it’s the leaps and bounds gadgetry has made over the years. The range of buggies that are designed for active parents to walk, jog and run long distances is impressive, and when you’ve got small children, it’s one of the easiest ways to get your 30 minutes of daily exercise. Just strap the kids in and run out the door. There are also some innovative solutions for bikes, including bike seats or trailers for your kids to sit in while you ride. Or if you’re a runner and your child is old enough to ride a scooter, get them to ride next to you, while you try to keep up.
Keep it short and sweet
Be realistic about how much time you’re likely to get, and figure out how to maximise it. Opt for short and sweet workout sessions that are moderate in intensity, and put as much effort into them as feels safe and comfortable. Being pregnant, you’re not trying to break any world records – you’re just aiming to keep your body moving as regularly as possible.
Find some buddies
Fitness instructors across Australia are quickly catching on to the parent/child classes, with some even using your toddlers as props instead of weights! Whether it’s a one-on-one session with a personal trainer, or a group training class with other mums and bubs, it’s become the norm to take your baby with you and keep them entertained in the pram while you get your workout done. Or, if you don’t want to pay for a class, just take turns at exercising with a friend, while the other one looks after the kids.
Stay at home
If you can’t get out of the house, a home workout is just as effective. From yoga and pilates to strength building exercises, there’s plenty you can do within the walls of your own home. Try getting up before everyone else does to get through your workout without any distractions. Or, if that’s not possible and you need to keep younger children entertained, be prepared with plenty of distractions: books, colouring in, or set them going with an easy craft activity, which should buy you 30 minutes or so. If you have older children, try and co-ordinate your workout for the time they sit down and do some reading or homework, or get them to join in and count your push-ups for you!
Get everyone to join in
When your kids are old enough, get everyone in on the action and exercise as a family. Head down to the local tennis courts and play doubles, enter a fun run together, or if the weather is nice, round up some friends and set up a big game of beach Frisbee or cricket. You could also get onto a playing field and kick a ball around for an hour or two, or go swimming at the local pool. Kids need exercise just as much as adults do, so get outdoors and have fun together.
Head here to read more articles about how to stay fit and active during pregnancy, and don’t forget to see your GP before starting a new exercise routine.