The Secret to Keeping Up with Your Fitness as a Busy Parent? Get Creative!

If you’re ready to commit to your fitness but lose steam when you think about lacing up your shoes for a run,

perhaps it’s time to take a different approach. Exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym or running around a track,

and having children doesn’t mean the only exercise you are doomed to is picking up toys. Exercise can be whatever motivates you and helps you tend to your physical health, and it can be done while still winning Parent of the Year.

Sometimes, the best way to stay fit is to figure out how to incorporate exercise into your daily life. This can mean a couple of things, from setting aside a specific time to work out to finding ways to incorporate physical activity into stuff you do every day.

Better Fitness? Just Add Walking

Carve out some time during your lunch break or while dinner is in the oven to take a brisk 20-30 minute walk with the kids; this is a quick and easy way to get some extra exercise in a busy day, and promote family health while you are it. And there’s an even easier way to connect it directly into the things you already do. At every stage of your day, think about how you can simply add some walking to whatever you’re doing.

Take advantage of kid-free time and add walking to your work commute. If you live fairly close to your job and usually drive, why not try walking at least one or two days out of the week? Instead of taking an elevator or escalator, always choose to take the stairs. Resist the urge to pick the closest parking spot whenever you park, and be sure to do so in rows farthest from the entrance. Not only will you effortlessly add exercise to your day, but you’ll likely save your car some dings in the process. Consider purchasing a fitness tracker to gauge your steps each day -- you might be surprised at your number. Remember, walking up the stairs to do laundry or chasing a toddler around the house counts as steps too!

And if you really want to step up your walking game, try adding some ankle weights. A little resistance training coupled with cardiovascular activity can yield some great payoffs.

Think Small - Both Time and Space

Your workouts don’t need to last forever and they don’t need to take up a lot of space.

Short, intense workouts are just as beneficial as longer ones. Consider adding one or two HIIT workouts to your routine each week. These exercises are meant to be quick and powerful. And oftentimes they don’t require additional equipment, which means they can be done anywhere at any time, whether it’s between nap times, during your work break, or while the kids are occupied.

Remember, You Can Make Exercise Fun

Are you tired of sit-ups? Is running around the block sapping your motivation? Are you going to scream if you have to do one more curl? To bust through an exercise rut, think about creative ways to exercise. Design Sponge suggests things like aerial silks, trampolining, skating, indoor rock climbing or even joining a sports league. Changing up the way you’re being physical can open the door to new opportunities, or even friendships.

An Extra Boost

A great way to boost your motivation is through a reward system. Rewarding yourself for reaching a milestone can provide the encouragement you need to keep pushing toward your goals, plus you don’t have to spend a lot. Whether it’s new athletic shoes, a cute new nursing sports bra, colorful leggings or a new portable bluetooth speaker, a little incentive can add some spring in your step.

Small steps really do lead to big results. By incorporating even a few of these ideas into your daily routine you are bound to notice a big difference in how you feel, fighting back against the exhaustion that is inevitable when it comes to parenting. And the best part? You’ll be having fun and getting healthy for you and your children at the same time, and that’s a win-win!

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