Squeezing in Exercise

I'm not a real mom, but I did play one once.

Some friends of mine, planning an overseas trip, asked me to stay with their boys while they were gone. Honored to be chosen-- especially after I heard that the boys, ages 12, 14, and 16, had approved my appointment-- I took a deep breath and plunged in.

Boy, was it an education! When I wasn't planning menus, budgeting, shopping, cooking, and cleaning up, I was on the run: chauffeuring, doing laundry, playing homework cop, high-tailing forgotten permission slips over to school, and herding kids to bed. Following the daily schedule left by my friend (a blow-by-blow timeline in 15-minute increments, punctuated with humorous asides like "It's now 8:20 and you're late for choir practice—again!"), I kept trying to find a slot for the gym. Used to long lovely stretches of time, I now had it in snatches. Five minutes here. Ten minutes there. I finally realized that if I was going to get in any exercise, I’d have to make the most of those little snatches of time.

Here are some ideas I followed that helped me fit in small bits of fitness in small bits of time:

During Drive Time
Try some isometric exercises: Squeeze your glutes, contract your abs, work your calves by raising your legs up on your toes at red lights. Park far away from your destination so you’ll have to walk; arrive early to your event if possible to allow time for a brisk walk.

At Programs, Practices, and Games
Walk around the facility before or after the event; look for chances to combine a class or activity with those of your children. For example, take aerobics while your daughter has basketball practice.

While Keeping House
Shop at big stores where there’ll be lots of walking; do meal prep and cleanup with a little music and dancing. Clean to music, and shun some of your labor saving devices (like remotes). When doing yard work, keep moving! Use your leg and glute muscles (instead of your back) to shovel, rake, move dirt, etc.

When doing laundry, do squats to pick up unfolded laundry from the basket, and take fitness breaks during homework time, such as stretching or jumping rope for three minutes. (Your kids will love it!) Become your dog’s best friend-- most dogs are always ready to boogie. (And let me tell you, when you walk a dog on a regular basis, boy can you feel the love!)

For Play Dates
Keep in mind the old adage that children live what they learn. If you don't want your kids to be couch potatoes, be a good example. Walk to the library for story hour; plan regular play times at the park or pool; when snow keeps you home, go play in it. By making physical activity fun, you'll lay the foundation for your kids to have healthy, active lives. What’s more, you’ll rediscover that activity can be fun—not just another item to check off your grown-up list!

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Member Comments

thanks Report
Great article Report
Gives me something to think about...Thx! Report
These are good, but I still have a hard time getting my my heart rate up in little snatches of time. Trying to find a way to fit 30 minute runs back into my life. (And the shower and change of clothes than necessarily comes between that and heading to work. Report
Thank you! I need reminders. Report
THANKS Report
TOMORROW-C
Another reason for squeeze in a workout when you can is the weather. I'm an outdoor exerciser and it's been raining off + on for 2 days now. This morning I was determined to get it in regardless so I got ready and when it stopped, off I went. A short warm-up + hill sprints. 20 min later found me on the front porch finishing up with 2 circuits of standing body weight training and a good stretch. You guessed it ... it's raining again. Report
What I did not see was a comment about taking the boys to a park and engaging in some play with them! A missed opportunity! Report
Did the jumping jacks but had to modify them Report
thanks Report
Thanks Report
Good information, thanks! Report
CHRISTOPHER63
Good article Report
Good article. Report


 

About The Author

Rebecca Pratt
Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.