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4 Tips For Prioritizing Fitness as a Busy Parent

Just when you think you have found an hour to yourself to squeeze in a workout, your baby wakes up from their nap, or school calls you to come pick up your sick kid, the dog is barking at the door and wants to go out, your partner is running late from work, or this is your only hour to yourself and you just need to sit in the quiet and decompress! Sound familiar? Work deadlines, dinner to cook, permission slips to fill out, cleaning up the kitchen, spending quality time with your family.  Prioritizing fitness goals when you are a parent and responsible for so many other things each day is HARD. Prioritizing fitness can be difficult, let’s look at some ways to find balance and work towards making time for physical activity without compromising who you are as a partner, parent and person. 

Let’s unpack 4 ways you can start prioritizing fitness in your busy life

  1. Be Flexible

As a busy parent who is prioritizing fitness the first thing you need to understand and accept is flexibility. Before having children I had a rigid workout schedule and not much that could pull me away from it. Parenthood shifts our schedule and responsibilities and we put ourselves on the back-burner in most cases. So be flexible, schedule out time for yourself but understand that your scheduled time might fluctuate from an hour to thirty minutes. And it might go from being during nap time, to after bedtime. Make a promise to yourself that even if something comes up, you won’t let that time for yourself fall off the map, you’ll adjust and find another time throughout the day to make it work. The sooner you accept that things will have to be fluid, the more successful you can be with your fitness. 

2. Involve your children! 

This one is HUGE for prioritizing fitness. You don’t have to narrow down your workout time to when your kids are away, with a sitter, or sleeping. Invite your child to workout with you! Circling back to the “be flexible” talk, your workout might not look the exact same as it would have kid-free, but moving your body is moving your body. Whatever you do to workout; fitness video, yoga, lift weights, go on a walk or run, your child can join and will likely have a blast! Read more about the benefits of getting your children involved in your workouts here! Anytime I have brought my toddler into my workout, he has been so curious about what I am doing and it leads to great informative conversations with him about the importance of taking care of our bodies. Make sure to maintain a safe environment and talk to them about what they can do safely in order to workout with you.

Pro-tip: get or make your child some workout equipment (foam blocks pieced together to make dumbbells, broomstick for a barbell, purchase some foam workout equipment like these dumbbells, or if they are old enough give them some light weights) and start to teach them how to safely and effectively use them to get stronger! If we want our kids to grow up prioritizing their health and well-being, modeling is the best way to ensure that happens, and exposing your kids to how you move your body is a great place to start.  

3. Get creative

Get creative when prioritizing fitness! Invest in a walking pad, like this one, for work. Workout at work with a friend before work, during your lunch break, or after work before you go home. Take your kids on a long walk and stop at every bench to do an exercise (push-ups, step-ups, squats, hip thrusts, etc. you could even bring some dumbbells with you in the stroller and add some weight to your exercises.) Plan a play-date workout! Call a friend and make a plan to get together once a week, the kids can play and you all can workout! This is especially great in the spring and summer when the weather is more reliable for outdoor workouts. Pop on the sprinkler for the kids, get some yoga mats for the yard and complete a workout with a friend! Schedule weekly walks around the lake or neighborhood and hold each other accountable. Not only is working out with a friend a great way to find motivation, but this is another great way to demonstrate to your children that fitness is important to you! 

4. Change your schedule

This is a hard one, but might be what you’re missing when prioritizing fitness! Get to bed 30 minutes earlier, and wake up to workout before the day starts. Having a home gym is a gamechanger for getting a workout done in the early morning hours, check out this article about the best home gym pieces to start with if you want to build a home gym. I used to be a teacher and 3 days a week my coworker and I would wake up early and get to work an hour before we needed to be there and workout in one of our classrooms. Yes, we were sweaty and had to wipe down before we got dressed in professional clothes to then teach children all day, but we got our workout in and no one had any idea that we needed a shower! No matter if you work in an office, work from home or are home with your children all day, if you can finish a workout before your day truly starts, you’ll feel like a new person! I know this one can be really tough especially if you already run on little sleep, but flexibility is key here! Start to shift your schedule and wake up early to workout, and if you have a rough night and you need to skip or workout at a different time once or twice a week that’s okay! 

It can be hard prioritizing fitness when you’re a parent. Kids change your life in so many ways, including the time you have to spend on yourself. Finding time to workout and ways to be active is a lot more challenging, but so doable! Think about how important it is to be able to move, get strong and feel good. Invest in your health and your body by seeing what changes you can make to prioritize fitness in your life!

prioritizing fitness by working out with my son in our home gym
Habib

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