Looking back on life before my sweet Vivi came into the world, I would leave work and meet my friends at the gym to workout or walk everyday. I love the natural high that a good workout brings, and found that when constantly active I was physically, mentally and spiritually at my healthiest.
I need that.
But when my daughter was born, I didn't want to compromise any of my time with her; The hours between the end of work and bedtime are so few and fleeting! So for me, when faced with the decision to do something for me or to spend time with my daughter my mind races with the anxiety that she's only this age this one time! And the conflicting but you need to be healthy for her!
Don't misunderstand me, I think 'me' time is important for everyone and am not saying anyone should feel guilty for taking it. What I am saying is that it's not always that easy, and that isn't often acknowledged. After all, moms today are supposed to be able to do it all, right? < --- (lolz!)
Earlier last year I decided that something needed to change. I needed my old healthy lifestyle back, without taking away from time with my daughter.
The problem was, we live in the Arctic Tundra. Okay, okay, so not that far North, but believe me, Vermont sometimes feels like it! The ground is covered in ice and snow for like, 9 months out of the year, so the reality of running, biking, walking or really anything outside is just not feasible the majority of the time. We do have a gym, but holy heck is it expensive for a family pass; and any parent/child classes are always scheduled during the 9-5 workday (don't get be started on this, I'll save that for a whole other blog post).
So I decided to improvise! I dug out my balance ball and started from there. I researched home workouts and Pilates and turned my living room into LO's Gym every evening. Viv thought this was a riot! I quickly found that she was mimicking my motions and trying to exercise right along with me. As you can see from the pic I was able to snap of her (please do excuse the quality, it was dark and she was moving) showing daddy how "mommy does exercise," she thinks it's hiii-larious. She loves exercising right along side me (and daddy when he joins us!) Gradually I've started adding to my "gym" with small weights, resistance bands, and the pièce de résistance- an elliptical bike!
What has proven to be an epic win on the mommy-front is setting everything up in another room along with her easel and paints [Bonus: a yoga mat makes for a great washable drop-cloth!] I've made a circuit training cycle of 1. Bike a mile 2. Ab reps 3. Change easel paper 4. Leg reps, repeat! Who needs a fancy expensive gym? Besides, Viv doesn't mind my singing along loudly to 'Moves Like Jagger.' Well... at least not too much ;-)
(Again, please do excuse the quality, it was dark and I was biking)
So whether you're a parent or just plain busy but want to stay active, here are a few ideas for non-gym workouts:
- Put on some tunes and have a mommy-kiddo dance party! Come on, you know you've been secretly saving that cheesy playlist for something! Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about... you know, the one with O-Town and Debbie Gibson on it. Vivi loves this! She gets to dance and get her wiggles out, and I get to spend time with her (albeit making a fool out of myself) and get a good workout!
- Old-School Play: If you have enough space indoors, jump rope and hula-hoop it up! Who doesn't love to hula hoop? They even make specialty hoops designed for exercise!
- During the warm months (as few as there may be) there are the obvious hiking, biking, swimming, running, etc etc. Also, try going to the playground! Only don't sit on the bench and watch, run around, climb, slide and swing with your kiddo.
- If you have OnDemand (or just the internet), there are a lot of family-geared workouts that are short enough to hold your kiddo's attention, but long enough to actually be a good enough workout for you. My daughter enjoyed the 'Family Walk' segment the best, as she got to pretend to be in a marching band the whole time.
- Make it a game: I don't have the FitDeck Junior, but after learning about it, I must have it! It's essentially a deck of cards with illustrations describing upper, middle, lower, and full body exercises. Each exercise has a kid-friendly name like funny names like the Inchworm and Flamingo. I think I would like to create my own version that also incorporates dance moves that we love.
So there we have it! And they've really worked! I feel great and Viv is having fun- what more could I ask for?
I would love to know what other people do to involve kids in your workout!