My great friend and personal trainer, Jen, of Getting Fit With Jen, has said it to me time and again: “Sometimes, working in time to exercise can be as easy as getting up and playing with your kids.”
The statement makes perfect sense and ultimately, I agree. But I also have to say that doing this has often been a struggle for me. I’ll admit that I don’t often just stop and “play”. There is work to be done!!! Often, I find that the best time to get that work done is when my kids are off happily playing…on their own. Happily playing children means that I have a moment of peace to focus on other tasks. To take the time to stop my cooking, laundry, website work, house work – and instead go play with my kids? It almost feels as if I would put myself behind in some way. That I would be more stressed out because of the growing “to-do” list that didn’t get finished.
All of that may be true sometimes. There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of quiet moments and content children when there is work to be done. But – I promise you that I have never, ever regretted time I have taken out of my “very busy schedule” to go play with my kids. And when that play involves some sort of exercise? Well, I do believe we can call that multi-tasking. :)
Remember the day I scored five!!?!?!? (Why yes, I did just give you the link to that post
so that I could brag some more in case you forgot that story.) It was a great workout, and wow did we all have fun! A few days after that, while waiting for our seven year old to warm up for his soccer game, I headed over and kicked a ball around with our 10 year old. You should have seen his face light up once he saw me and recognized that I was there to play with him!! Golden. Never will I regret taking advantage of opportunities like this to play with my kids.
Remember how my kids were doing this:
And then they talked me into doing this:
I loved every minute of that – and so did my kids!
Jen is right. Now that I’m being more intentional about being active with my kids, I’m finding that there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy spending time with them in this way. And lo and behold – all of my other work still gets done somehow. ;) After playing, I get right back to the house work or computer work – this time full of extra energy because I’ve just been up moving around!
Here are some specifics Jen had to share on this topic:
Anything that involves moving for several minutes at a time will increase your heart rate and be beneficial for your health. Go outside with your kids. Kick a ball around, chase them, play some sort of tag, play catch, go for a walk or bike ride – the ideas are limitless. Your kids will love this time with you and you will be burning calories, building muscle, and increasing your endurance level.
Do recognize your limitations so that you don’t injure yourself. Don’t break into a full on sprint to chase your kids if you aren’t used to running. Pace yourself, maybe taking short breaks between play times. Remember, even 10-15 minute segments of activity will be good for your body.
Your example to them will encourage them to want to be fit as well. Get out there and be active with your kids!
Be sure to visit Getting Fit With Jen to learn more about how you can make fitness a part of your life.