Posted in Exercise and fitness, fitness, making time, mind and body, Parenting, Uncategorized

Working in Exercise–Keeping the Parent’s Body (and Mind) Fit–Part 2

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Thank you for checking back in. Guess “later this week” will have to include a full seven-day cycle for this post. Life gets REALLY busy sometimes, and the best one can do is make the necessary adjustments.

Last time we discussed issues that messed with the morning routine I’d gotten into during my kids’ elementary school days. (This included early-AM exercise.) Once they got older, their schedule changed and this mom-who-works-outside-the-house had to adapt. Here are some of the ways I did.

One: I moved my ankle, wrist and small dumbbell weights from the basement to my bedroom. I exercised in my room—or between their beds—while calling them between counting out reps. (These days, my gear hides in a basket near the TV in the living room, just within reach of the exercise ball.)

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Two: I shortened and/or broke up the routines (about 10 minutes each): do arms in the morning; legs in the afternoon–often while catching a Law & Order SVU re-run. I get in full-body routines during Dancing with the Stars, too 😉 ).

Three: I learned to multi-task exercises (i.e., combine lunges with arm work, arm work with abdominal work while on the exercise ball, etc). Translation: More muscle groups addressed per move.

Four: I make walking outdoors a priority—15-25 minutes, usually 5 days a week. (I abhor treadmills and exercise machines—I’m far too restless to stay in one spot that long. Reading and/or watching TV while I’m on one just doesn’t cut it for me.)

Dancing: I’ll cue up my favorite YouTube videos of songs I like and just move to them. So many out there—all age groups covered.

Five: YouTube videos: Long and short workouts galore to be discovered—some as short as FIVE (!) minutes. I pick, choose and vary them. Try two or three 5-minute ones and cover a full-body workout in 15 minutes. (This barre workout and Popsugar fitness are currently favorites. If you can past the English girl’s voice in the former, you’ll be just fine.)

Six: Sneak some exercise at work: take stairs, squeeze your back end while in your chair. My little guys at school are doing wall push-ups or jogging—often with me right alongside—by kindergarten.

Disclaimer: CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR, AND USE YOUR JUDGMENT WHEN USING ON-DEMAND AND YouTube VIDEOS. I have a background in anatomy and physiology. I’m no expert, but I am familiar with the directions that individual muscles move, what key muscle groups do, etc, so I can tailor my routines.

I also have physical therapist friends—this is among their areas of expertise. I ask; they help. Even so, I wound up doing something to my hip during a zumba/soca video I pulled up. (Within 2-3 months, I was having serious trouble getting off the floor. I started by chucking the rocker-sneakers, which I still miss. A trip to an orthopedist, my regular practitioner and athletic taping of my knee followed. 18+ months later, I still swear by my tape.)

Disclaimer #2: WORK AT YOUR OWN PACE and DON’T PUSH YOURSELF TO THE POINT OF INJURY. If a workout calls for jumping or running and you can’t–modify (i.e., walk in place, etc). An injury will side-line you big-time and totally get in the way of your purpose.

Having a stated that, it’s a mind-shift, my dear parents and caregivers. And it can be done. All you need is a little flexibility in your thinking and a desire to make it work within the parameters of your particular circumstance.

How do you adapt? All ideas and thoughts welcome—leave yours in the comments or email me privately.

Have a wonderful day,

Joanne

©Joanne C Timpano, content and images. All rights reserved.

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Posted in fitness, making time, mind and body

Working in Exercise—Keeping the Parent’s Body (and Mind) Fit–Part 1

Hello all. Told you we’d cover lots of topics here—this one is for moms, dads and anyone in the parenting role who feels there just isn’t enough time to take care of their fitness needs. (Many times, there isn’t. That doesn’t necessarily translate to: “It can’t be done.” A little creativity can take a little motivation down quite the productive path. And regular exercise keeps the mind fit too–a parent “must.”)

“Make it a priority,” is a catch-phrase so readily bandied about in today’s world. Seems to me that  EVERYTHING is supposed to be that. Kind of cancels out what a priority is supposed to be, right?

So how does a busy parent prioritize exercise?

If you’re strictly a “gym” person, the suggestions I’m offering might not appeal to you. I belonged to one eons ago, and even taught one of their aerobics classes regularly for a while. As much as I enjoyed leading the class–it pumped my workout big-time–I don’t miss the smells of the place, nor how easy it was to blow off exercise when I couldn’t get there for whatever reason. (Chances are, I might have made up a reason or two not to go—what are the odds?)

I got into a habit of exercising at home. I was up around 5:30 anyway, doing paperwork and/or writing when my kids were very small—how else does a parent find undisturbed quiet time? By re-purposing small windows of that early AM time, I would manage to put in at least 20 minutes prior to getting my kids up for school (around 7:30). At K-4th grade levels, they didn’t have to be in until 8:45. (Dad was off to work by 6 AM—the house was mine.)

I picked them up after school. They’d stay on the school grounds and played. When I wasn’t doing my session notes (a.k.a., my “homework”) —or chatting with other parents–I’d walk around the school grounds. (Sometimes I’d walk with other parents while we socialized.) During spring and early fall, I’d often take them back to the playground after dinner, and walk or hit a tennis ball against the wall while they rode their bikes and/or played. They were always within eye and/or earshot. I’d also walk around the neighborhood while they rode their bikes ahead of me.

That changed from 5th grade. Older Son had to be on a bus by 7:40. Now both guys are in high school; their back ends need to be in seats by 7:34.

Issue #1: This mom has been getting kids up for school starting at 6:15 for 5+ years now. Their current, earlier schedule killed a good hour and fifteen minutes of “my” time.

Note: My kids have never given me a hard time about going to school. Teens’ biological clocks are naturally more nocturnal, so getting up at increasingly earlier hours is PHYSIOLOGICALLY more challenging.

Issue #2: Mom has to call the kids more often to get them up.

Issue #3: Mom can’t be exercising in the basement when boys are upstairs in their room, sleeping when they’re supposed to be up.

So how does one carve out the time for exercise?

Solution: Mom had to adapt.

Tune in later this week for a list of some of the changes I made. They’re easier than you might think. Maybe you’ll find a game-changing tip–or two!

Until then, have a great day! Please feel free to leave any thoughts you have on the matter in the comments.

Joanne