Hello February. Hello 2018. Hello blog. I haven’t been able to keep up with posting as much as I would like to because quite honestly I have been busy. Busy is good. I live for having things to do. Feeling engaged. Being involved. However, since the start of another year, I have noticed how hard it is to balance doing everything I want to do with my physical activity (outside of working). I was recently asked by Spartan Race to list a few tips for the busy parent to stay active and maintain a workout routine. I think some of these tips could apply to anyone. Here we go!
- Plan ahead. If that means weekly, or even monthly, set your expectations early. My husband and I both need regularly scheduled workouts to stay sane. It is nearly impossible for us to work out at the same time. We have coordinated a schedule in which one of us works out early on specific days of the week, the other during the day or evening. If it is my designated day, he encourages me to maintain my schedule. As do I.
- Hold yourself accountable. Let’s face it. Some people are way more self motivated than others. Do what you need to do to ensure you make time for exercise. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Join a group that expects (and gets excited) for you to be there. Camaraderie and community make such a difference. If you feel seen, rather acknowledged, you feel proud. I run with a group of girls one morning a week that typically involves a track type workout or running hills. Our paces are variable, but having them push me (and hold me accountable) has made such a difference in my running.
- Sign up for a class that if you cancel last minute you will be charged. Nothing is worse than paying for something you don’t use.
- Sign up for a race that you need specific training for to feel good about crossing the finish line. You know what I’m talking about here. An obstacle course race or a longer road race. Something that you can’t just decide to do on the day of.
- Find time for “fun” workouts (with or without the kids). Easy days should be banked into everyone’s routine. On these days, do something fun! Take your kids to the playground and practice monkey bars with them. Set up a mini obstacle course in your driveway and run through it with them. Try something new that doesn’t leave you feeling completely spent.
- Splurge sometimes. If you are like me, you work hard professionally and as a parent. Every once in awhile you need to reward yourself. Set a date on the calendar to go on a “fitness date night”. Get a babysitter and check out a climbing gym, running trail or boutique fitness studio with your significant other. Don’t they say couples that sweat together stay together?
- Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. In a world where everything seems perfect (or not so perfect) remember to use your workout time as an opportunity to lift yourself up. If you wake up one day and you just aren’t feeling it, then take a day off (and be okay with it). Exercise should leave you feeling like a better person. Feeling like a better person will allow you to interact better with those around you throughout the rest of the day.
- Remember, you are your child’s biggest role model. If you don’t want to make time for fitness to benefit you, think about the impact it will have on your child. I love having my kids see their mom set a goal, train for it, and reach it. Being active is a lifestyle that your child will adopt if you set the tone early. Maybe you even sign up to do a race with your child so you have the opportunity to not only connect but support each other’s training.