I was never one to choose to work out if I didn’t feel like I had to. Exercise was a miserable experience for me. I had never been able to make it into something that I actually enjoyed (aside from going out on a cool morning or evening for a walk). So when kids came around, my motivation went in the garbage. As they got older and I added to the brood, it became even more complicated. Instead of working out, I became the jungle gym. You know how it looks, mom or dad trying to do yoga, burpees or pushups and there is a child or 2 climbing all over them while they do it. How are you supposed to get motivated to exercise if you are constantly being interrupted or prying kids off of your body while attempting to do a workout that was difficult enough without those added challenges? The idea was beyond exhausting and not even close to motivational. I gave in. I eventually chose not to do it at all. I continued to become more and more unhealthy, overweight and miserable.
What I wish I had known back then: I wish that I had realized that a little creativity and routine goes a long way with kids. And just because they cry, doesn’t mean they actually need you to hold them. 20-30 minutes if you already know their needs have been met, isn’t going to hurt them. After having this realization, it took a little trial and error, but I have finally settled into a regular workout routine with my kids.
I discovered that as long as it looked boring and felt like it was taking me away from them, I would never get a workout in. I also wanted to encourage a joy for fitness for my kids. So, I decided to try a few children’s workout programs and tried to get them to do it with me. When I was super out of shape, these kids programs got my heart pumping just fine, so I just did what they were doing. As the kids workouts became too easy for me, I have improvised and adapted the workout to be more challenging (maybe I will jog in place during the breaks, throw in a few burpees, add arm movements to squats, etc).
I do this workout at the same time every morning, right after my oldest leaves for school. I try to make it exciting and get them pumped up to do it with me. Even if they aren’t in the mood to exercise with me, they are entertained by the program, and are now in the routine of having it on, so they aren’t interrupting me anymore. It only took a few days of consistently doing it, and choosing not to hold them while I worked out to get them used to the routine. The interruptions stopped, and I was finally able to sweat a little before too much of the day had passed. Even better, I am passing healthy habits on to my kids!
Our favorite kids workout programs right now are Bo on the Go and Cosmic Kids. I can't say I get much yoga in, the second I move into the first pose, I become a human jungle gym. My kids enjoy watching and occasionally engaging while I make up a workout in the moment.
This has been a game changer for me. Working out (20-30 minutes a day 5 days a week), has provided more energy throughout the day. I don’t feel as tired or drowsy. My mood is enhanced and I am able to move past negative thoughts much more quickly. My body is able to sustain me in situations I was unable to handle in the past, and my mind is clear and able to function at a higher level than ever before. I know diet has a huge part in this as well, but there is no question that working out every day is making a positive difference in not only my life, but the lives of everyone I interact with, especially those in the walls of my home.
How do you adapt and get creative with your kids so that you can get a little workout in before your day gets away from you? I always love new ideas!