The best way I have discovered to try and stay active with having toddlers around is to include them. Be an example for your children. Living a healthy lifestyle is important for them to witness in order for them to continue to make healthy choices for themselves as they get older. Here are some ways to be active with your children:
Go for a walk or hike: My children love to be outside. If it is looking like a day where I may not be able to squeeze a run in or I just want to get moving with my kids, we often go for a walk or hike. I have been hiking with my almost five year old since he was a babe. He loves to be in the woods and calls it an "adventure". He often is the one to request a hike and we have a couple spots we frequent. Just the other day I was driving with the boys to run an errand and my son requested a walk in the Forest. Instead of doing my errands I turned the car around and went to the town forest so we could hike. I usually wear my two year so it becomes an even better work out for me. Hiking is definitely one of our favorite things to do together.
Yoga: Okay, so yes, I typically prefer to do yoga by myself. But let's not forget about the theme of this: having kids and exercising. My two year old does a pretty good downward facing dog. He definitely can get his hips up there better than I can. He is pretty hysterical trying to mimic poses. When there was just one child in this house I use to take my oldest to a Baby Yoga class. It was filled with little toddlers doing yoga and dance. Little yogi's are the cutest! Explore if your area has any classes like this, it is so much fun.
Strength Training: If you are trying to get your workout done and your kid wants to join in: improvise. Children love to imitate our actions! My oldest is really good at coming up with his own set of "weights" or "sandbag". For weights he uses two play handheld footballs and for a sandbag he stuffed it with his stuffed animals. This way he can still exercise with me and I don't have to worry about him dropping the the kettle ball on his toes. So if your kid doesn't want to leave your side challenge them to join you and be creative with their own exercise equipment.
Have A Dance Party: We almost always have music on in our house. Both boys love to have me dance with them. We hold hands, jump, twirl and bounce around the room. It's not only fun but it gets us all moving in a healthy and happy way. Next time your kids are complaining they are bored or want to do something turn on some music and have fun.
Use Your Children As Exercise: This can be a fun one! If they won't get out of the way then pick them up and swing them around. Lay on the ground and suspend them in the air. Have them jump into your arms from the couch and lift them up. Who needs weights when you have toddlers! They will have a blast and you are sure to get a good workout. Believe me, it can get exhausting!
Stroller Running: Last but not least, if you are in need of a run but cannot find the time to do it without children, bring them along. I will be honest, I love running (I think we have all figured that one out by now!) yet I much prefer to run solo. Stroller running is not my first choice and it becomes a different workout. It takes a different mindset to get through a run and is not always the most enjoyable for me. The upside is I get to put in my run and my son gets to nap. It's a win-win. He loves to come along and we will sometimes stop after at a park to have a snack. It becomes quality time together which makes it worth every second of pushing that stroller for a few miles.
Staying active and being healthy is important for me and for my children. Obesity in children is sadly a problem for many children. While every child and situation is unique, we as parents are solely responsible for our children's health and well being. As parents we need to be setting healthy examples for our children in the food choices they make along with teaching the importance of being active. The CDC estimates that:
* Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
* Approximately 17% (or 12.7 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.
That is sad to me. We are doing our children such a misfortune by neglecting to teach them about being healthy and making good choices for themselves. When they are not old enough to make these choices it is our responsibility to make decisions for them. We are our children's biggest role models. We are the ones they watch every day. They see every little thing that we do and desire to mimic us. They strive to be just like "mommy" or "daddy".
Being active with our children is important. It doesn't have to feel like work, make it fun! Along with creating a healthier lifestyle you are also making some incredible memories. Both are pretty priceless if you ask me!
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