Exercising as a Family

A friend recently tried to convince me that I have time to train for a marathon. As if a three-hour run on a weeknight followed by a four-hour run that Saturday was something I could easily pencil in. I mean, I’m sure my two younger kiddos would enjoy all of those hours logged in the double jogging stroller and my 4-year-old would have no trouble keeping pace on his balance bike. Right?

It continues to blow my mind how motherhood affects each and every area of life. I am still discovering things to rethink… and each time we add a child or one hits a new milestone, everything is upended once again.

Exercise is one of those things. Prior to motherhood, I just ran when I had time. I didn’t really have to consider the weather or anyone else’s schedule. Gym quality sort of stopped with: Do they have cardio equipment and weights? Gym childcare wasn’t on my radar, let alone the quality of childcare.

So, as someone who values physical fitness, I have tried to prioritize fitting in exercise as a mom. I am only (almost) five years into this parenting gig, but here are a few things that I’ve figured out for my family:

  1. Mute the video. Blast the fun (see:annoying) kid music. Think dance party with push-ups. We found some BeachBody DVD sets on Craigslist, so my kids are all too familiar with Shaun T. I even coach my kids along, counting their push-ups and jumping jacks for them.
  2. Get your kids some fun, special exercise clothes that mimic yours or dad’s. My boys both have fingerless gloves to mimic my weight-lifting gloves and, when the gloves are out, they take things VERY seriously.
  3. Along the same vein as #2, find some exercise equipment for them. My boys have NO problem hauling around 2 lb (or even 5 lb!) dumbbells. You can almost always find these at garage sales. They can do curls with the best of ‘em.
  4. Get outside! Now that I have 3 kids, running with them in tow isn’t quite as realistic (we have a double jogger but my oldest is still figuring out his balance bike). But we do lots of walks and I’ll even sprint a bit, which they love.
  5. Trade childcare with another mom friend. I have successfully trained for two half marathons since starting motherhood, and I could NOT have done this without help. We would go to each other’s homes and take turns going for runs. Our kids played and we were able to maintain our training schedule. I think trading child care could work for hitting the gym, too!

Go get it, Mom!

Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at karagaris.blogspot.com

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