Mums can exercise
by Tash Hughes
Once you have
children, fitting in a quick trip to the gym or an
evening stroll becomes more difficult. Regardless of
your motivation to exercise, you have to work it in
around the needs of your children as well.
That’s not to
say parents should give up on exercising whilst their
children are young, quite the contrary in fact. Parents
need to exercise at least as much as other adults
They need to be fit
enough to keep up with and chase their children!
It is a great way of
getting some child free time
It teaches children the
value of exercise
Parents need to be
healthy to best care for their children
It can be a great
release for frustration, instead of taking it out on the
It builds self esteem
exercise may be much harder to fit into your life as a
parent, but there are many other ways to exercise than
going to a gym.
Go for a walk. Babies
and toddlers love being pushed in a pram, and it’s a
great way to settle them when crying. Older children
will walk with you – it may be slower but its fun and
still counts as exercise if you do enough of it.
Put on some music and
dance! Kids love music and will love you dancing with
them. You can swap between kids’ music and your own
boppy choices. Fifteen or twenty minutes a day is a
great workout for you whilst also building relationships
with your children.
Lift some weights. Grab
some tins of food from the cupboard and lift them! A
simple activity you can do when watching TV, talking on
the phone or even surfing the net. It all helps you to
move your body.
Play active games with
the children. Games of chasey, cricket, footy, leap frog
and ring-a-ring-a-rosie are just a few examples of fun
family exercise. Or why not try the hokey pokey?
Walk instead of
driving. Many people get in the car and drive out of
habit. Sometimes, leave a little earlier and walk to the
health centre, the milk bar, the kinder, the school or
Play in the park. So
many times in the park parents will sit and watch the
kids play. Just for a change, why don’t you have a play,
too? Swinging is great exercise when you get going, or
you can just run around with the kids and scramble up
ladders and climbing bars.
Walk and watch. Go for
a walk or jog around the playground whilst your children
play. Try giving your child a push on the swing, lapping
the equipment and giving the next push. Toddlers love
seeing you walk past and waving as they play!
Exercise together. A
baby can lie on your tummy or legs as you exercise on
the floor each day, and become the weights for arm
exercises. Older children will mimic you doing exercises
or yoga, which is fun to watch. Be creative and make
your exercises fun – don’t do squats, walk around as a
Ignore the ads. During
the ads on TV, get up and move around the room, do some
stretches or maybe some sit ups instead of sitting on
the couch being bored. It will freshen you up and the ad
breaks are long enough now you can fit a lot of movement
into each one hour show!
Help out. Whether its
tuckshop duty at school, going on excursions, helping at
working bees or kinder duty, you will be moving around
as well as contributing to your child’s life.
Move during classes.
When the kids have classes and activities, do something
yourself. For instance, swim some laps during their
swimming class, walk laps of the footy oval during
training (watch out for the embarrassed “Oh, MUM!”
though,) walk around the block where the dance school
is, go up and down the stairs or wheel (bike, skate,
skateboard, etc) around the nearby park.
Go on bike rides. By
yourself, with kids alongside or kids on your bike,
riding is great exercise that can be shared with the
Stand up to do some
tasks – it requires more work than sitting! Maybe check
your emails, watch the news, flick through the junk
mail, talk on the phone and write your shopping list
without sitting down.
Have fun with the
housework by dancing as you vacuum, racing the children
to hang up clothes from the washing or balancing on one
foot to dust. You’ll get the kids keener to help this
And, of course,
there is always the exercise you will get from carrying
all the kids’ stuff when you go out, picking up their
belongings around the house and when you forget the
Tash Hughes is
a Mum of four in Melbourne. She is also a writer and
owner of Word Constructions so she udnerstands being
short on time! Tash is available to write
articles and profiles for any business, as well as doing
other business documentation projects. You can see her
site and services at