Category Archives: exercise


Parenthood And Exercise Not Mutually Exclusive

family fun time | photo: vharjadi

Today we have a guest post from Alex Webb of Tristate Orthopaedic, a sports medicine provider in  Cincinnati.  Alex is someone who has been working very hard to figure out just where exercise fits in to her busy schedule – and she doesn’t even have children yet! Follow her on twitter @alexandriakwebb.

We all think our lives are busy, but ask any parent and they will tell you that they miss “busy.” Being a parent makes busy feel like Sunday brunch in bed. Without a doubt, being a parent is rewarding, but between work, household duties, family time, social obligations, and running children to all of their appointments and social engagements it’s all too easy to neglect another aspect of your life: Yourself. 

One great way to take care of yourself is through physical activity. Some of the benefits of exercising are improved health, more energy, improved mood, better sleep, and an improved sex life. While all those benefits (and the list doesn’t end there) sound great, the parents out there are most certainly saying, “Of course I should be exercising – I already know that, but when? How?”

Being a parent and trying to work out can be difficult but it isn’t impossible. Here are some great ways to incorporate physical activity into your life when you have young children:

  • Turn your lunch hour into a power hour:  If you work outside the home, consider using your lunch hour to get in some physical activity and eating your lunch at your desk either before or after. If you can’t make it to a gym, simply head outside and walk around or roam the building. Do squats, lunges, or stretches at your desk. If you can, spend part of the day sitting on a stability ball to help improve your core strength and balance. 
  • Nap time is go time:  While your children nap, get a quick workout in. There are thousands and thousands of fitness DVDs you can try – simply turn the sound down and start to sweat while your children catch a few Zs. To save money, visit your local library, second hand store, or neighborhood yard sales to find fitness videos. 
  • Get out there and play:  Kids love to play, and you shouldn’t be afraid to be like a kid yourself when playing with your children. If it’s a nice day, head to the park or your backyard and get your heart rate up with a game of tag, duck-duck-goose, jump rope, hopscotch, ring around the rosy, or a water balloon fight. Push your kids on the swings, go down the slide with them, and climb around on the jungle gym. If the weather isn’t cooperative, you can always play indoors. Some of the activities already mentioned can be played indoors or you can put on some music and dance the day away. 
  • It’s double duty time:  Even when you have children the house still has to be cleaned and meals still have to be prepared. While you’re going about your household chores try incorporating some extra physical activity. For instance, if you have to go up or down stairs try making more trips than necessary or taking the steps faster than normal. If you’re waiting for water to boil or the sink to fill up do a few squats. Try doing some lunges while you vacuum. 
  • Turn your kids into exercise equipment:  There are a lot of devices available which allow parents to incorporate their children in their exercise routine. For instance, if you run purchase a jogging stroller; if you bike purchase a trailer that pulls behind. You can also purchase baby carriers which strap to your chest or back to make taking your child with you on a walk relatively easy. The added benefit of all these devices is that they allow you to burn more calories than you would if you just went running, biking, or walking on your own. 
  • Let’s make a deal: A lot of fitness facilities now offer daycare for children; however, if your facility doesn’t or if a gym isn’t in your budget there are other options. Make a deal with your spouse, a family member, or close friend where he or she watches your children for a few hours while you exercise and you’ll return the favor. 
  • Just say no:  Sure, those super close parking spaces reserved for expectant mothers and mothers with young children are convenient and oh-so tempting, but resist the urge. Park further out when your child is young and carry him or her in; make sure to use the opposite arm on the way out so you build and tone evenly. If your child is in a baby carrier try doing a few bicep curls as you walk. 
  • Let your children be your workout partner:  Typically, children will be more than happy to workout with you and do mini-versions of whatever it is your doing. Granted, there will probably be interruptions that prevent you from going full out but some physical activity is better than none. 
  • Pop in a video:  While your children are watching the same animated adventure for the thousandth time, you can exercise. You can use an elliptical, treadmill, stationary bike, or just get down on the floor and do other exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, planks, lunges, stretches, and squats. 

Even though it turns life into a hectic, pell-mell sprint, having children is great. While taking care of your children and ensuring they have a safe and healthy environment should be a top priority, it is also important to take care of yourself. Exercising has many advantages, both physical and psychological, and should be a part of any parent’s life.

Don’t allow parenthood to kick exercise to the curb – the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. 

On My Mind Monday 6.25.12

news | photo: mconnors

It’s never the same two weeks in a row.  This is a collection of what I find interesting in the world of food, nutrition and holistic health.  Read what’s on my mind.

Jumping Jacks Aren’t Enough – In this excellent article by Michele Simon, author of Appetite For Profit: How the food industry undermines our health and how to fight back, she points out that the Let’s Move campaign created by Mrs. Obama isn’t all of the story.  Yes, moving and jumping and being more physical is important for kids (and adults too).  However diet plays a huge part. Getting proper nutrition (and nutrition education) is key to helping children to understand the connection between what they eat and their health.  Sadly the purveyor’s of the worst offenders for our diet don’t want consumers, especially children who could become life-long consumers, to be well educated about their choices.  Read the article, read the book and then look again at what’s in your grocery cart.

All About Breasts – I’ve talked about breasts before, mostly in talking about breast feeding here and here, also in talking about a recently published book on nutrition and breast cancer.  Now there’s another new book that’s going to have to go on my reading list; Breasts: a natural and unnatural history by Florence Williams.  Breasts serve an important function when it comes to nourishing our babies and as a part of our hormonal health.  However because they are made largely of fatty tissue which tends to accumulate toxins, they can also be the repositories for our exposure to a toxic world.  Should be an interesting read.

Greener soda bottles? – no, not really.  Plastic is a problem, a big problem.  As I mentioned in an on my mind monday post a couple of weeks ago just because manufacturers stop using BPA doesn’t mean they aren’t using other bisphenols.  And there are all sorts of other nasties out there when it comes to plastic.  Not to mention how bad it is for the environment.  I’ve written quite a few posts about plastic, the stuff is everywhere.  It’s hard to get rid of; I’m still working on my one-step-at-a-time effort to get rid of it.  Mostly by following Beth over at My Plastic Free Life who has a new book, Plastic Free.  I’m doing better than I was a year ago but this reminds me I need to step it up again and look for more ways to remove more plastic from my life.

Kale isn’t Chikin – I am a huge fan of Bo Muller Moore and his Eat More Kale t-shirts. I asked my kids what they thought…was there any confusion between kale and chicken in their minds.  After they finally stopped laughing I explained this lawsuit to them and they were highly incredulous.  I love the fact that Bo is making the film, A Defiant Dude and am rooting for him.

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