Most parents find it hard to fit an exercise regimen into their tight-squeeze schedules, more so in the case of ‘working’ parents. But you don’t have to devote too many hours a day on your exercise. Here are a few pointers you can follow to make healthy exercise a part of your daily routine…
When Radhika delivered her first child she had gained almost 15 kilos. She resumed work five months after the baby was born and shed most of her pregnancy weight over the next one and half years. However, she felt sluggish and unhealthy and realized that she would gasp for breath if she just walked briskly for about 200 meters! A check up with her doctor showed that all was well, but readings in certain essential areas like cholesterol and hypertension were higher than normal. While diet of course was something she had to mind, she also realized that her fitness level was really low. Clearly, she was not getting enough exercise.
Sounds familiar? Well, like most parents, she had the perfect excuse for not including a fitness routine into her daily timeframe. It was just not her priority when compared to home, her work and her child.
Making exercise and therefore health, a priority is a challenge that most parents face. But this is a challenge that must be overcome. “If both parents stay healthy, then they bond with the child better,” says Karthi, who runs a gym in Chennai. But the question that looms large is how to include this essential activity into an already tight schedule.
All you need is 15-30 minutes in a day, and you can squeeze that time as you are doing other activities.
Here are a few things you could do:
Fit in exercise time while your child naps during the day. You don’t need a treadmill – a skipping rope or a fun exercise DVD will do.
Distract your child with something that will keep them occupied for a ‘long’ spell of time, say 15 minutes, while you do some toning exercise like squats or stretches.
When you take your child for a walk in the stroller, make it a brisk walk.
A fun way of staying fit could be to switch on the music and dance vigorously with your child. Needless to say toddlers love to dance, especially when parents are in too! Carry the baby for increased aerobics, but watch out – you don’t want to sprain your back, or hurt your child while you are having fun dancing!
When you spend the evening at the park, do not sit by and relax while the child plays. Join in, and ensure that you work out your legs and arms. You can use water bottles for weights.
You could play catch with a ball, or even kickball with a softball. Join in the child’s activity so that it serves your purpose too,
You could try swimming regularly with them. It is an excellent form of activity for both child and parent.
Skip the lift! Run up and down the stairs, daily.
If you have a garden, then that’s a good place to get a fair amount of exercise. Bending, squatting and digging will help loosen those stiff limbs.
If your child is old enough, you could teach your child to ride a bicycle. “All that running behind the cycle will help,” says Karthi Sekar.
Ensure that your routine with your child involves things like sitting on the floor in the lotus position, getting up and sitting down often, and crawling, with them.
Practice yoga. This can be accommodated in more flexible hours.
It is important to bear in mind that where there is a will there is a way. If you learn to value your health, there are any number of ways to fit in an exercise regimen into you daily schedule, however busy it happens to be.
And if you have ingenious ways you fit a quick workout into your busy day, share it with us!