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

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

  1. My exercise routine has changed over the years to accommodate my kids’ schedules. I also got up at 5:30 to exercise before they got up for school. Now their buses come at 6:46 and 6:50 and I’m a lot older. Exercising at 5:30 isn’t as appealing. I fit in working out whenever and wherever I can. One thing I do is always park as far away as I can while shopping. Anything to add steps for the day. Can’t wait to read what you’re up to these days.

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    1. You’re very kind, Stacey. My biggest thing is to do SOMETHING pretty much every day, and not get down on myself when I’m too tired or life gets in the way. Will and drive are the biggest factors, as well as just starting a walk or a workout. From there–most of the time–I usually get into and through it.

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