I am finally getting to a stage where my kids are old enough that I can prioritise more time for exercising and I actually feel that I have the energy to do it!
I vividly remember in the first year having two under three, one of my medical practitioners told me that it would be great for my overall health if I could fit some exercise into my daily routine. To be honest, that felt like a slap in the face! My days were completely and utterly full of feeding little people and getting them to sleep. Any spare time I had was used to eat lunch, clean up the constantly reappearing mess, and if I had a few minutes to myself, I chose to rest or have a much longed for cup of tea. Exercising did not even come onto my radar, and in all honestly, I think I would have collapsed from sheer exhaustion if I had tried.
A year or so on from that helpful comment I walked through our town’s shopping centre and was approached by a lady who worked for a local gym. She handed me the brochure with a lovely cheery smile, which was fine, but when I said I was walking through the shopping centre, I was actually kind of chasing my boys through the shopping centre, carrying shopping bags, being pulled this way and that by my little lovelies, and then ended up carrying one of the heavy little darlings. I half smiled and thought, can’t she tell that I’m spent just living with these two balls of energy?
Here is my point-mums, dads, you don’t need the gym. Earlier on your children are just so exhausting, you just need to survive each day before you can even contemplate exercise. And once you’re past that point, you don’t even need a gym – your life IS the gym. Carrying around those little monkeys, well, my arms had never looked so good. So, for all you lovely mums and dads out there feeling guilty that you haven’t got to the gym this week or gone for run, here is your gym work out for you below. Basically, you’ve already got it all covered. You’re welcome!
Squats with weights – holding your baby/child as you slowly squat down to pick up a dropped item off the floor. That’s about five times a day.
Sprints – chasing your child down the street in the opposite direction of where you parked because they thought it was funny, or running to get to your child from the other side of the room before they do something that will hurt them/their sibling, or draw on your wall etc. About twice a day.
Cardio and core strength – jumping on the trampoline with your little monkeys. Once a day.
Core strength – carrying your child around. Unlimited periods throughout the day.
Tricep curl – lifting your little one up over your head. Two reps a day.
Bicep curl – lifting your little one off the ground. Twenty times a day.
Hamstrings – Bouncing your little one on your foot/leg when your legs are crossed. Usually ends up being three reps of ten!
Push ups – Checking for lost toys/remote control/phone under the couch. Twice a day.
Shoulders and back strength – putting your little one on your shoulders and holding their hands. On the odd occasion.
Back strength – piggy back rides. Once a day for each child.
Stretches – slowly tiptoeing or crawling away from the bed/cot of a sleeping baby so as not to make a noise. Twice a day.
Back stretches – reaching across the back seats or twisting around from the front seat of the car to secure seat belts. The struggle is real! Two reps, four times a day.
Cardio – dancing to Happy while dinner is cooking. Once a day.
Bicep curl – spinning children around in circles (see dancing above) with your arms underneath their armpits. Once a day for each child.
Thigh lift – using a scissor kick to shut a draw or cupboard while holding a child. Three times a day.
Squats – Soooo s l o w l y rising out of a chair or off a bed (that has a tendency to creak) as you leave a room of a sleeping baby/child. Once a day.
Core strength and cardio – pushing a pram with a heavy toddler inside. Approximately twenty minutes per day, five times a week.
That is your workout done! So when you get the chance – please rest! Plenty of time for exercise when you’re little ones are at school. And if you are a gym junkie or manage to fit in regular exercise with little munchkins, please don’t take offence, I salute you! I’ve always enjoyed yoga one night a week and am now trying to squeeze in a jog a few mornings a week. But sometimes, as you know, life gets in the way.