Making Space For Movement with Kids: Prioritizing an Active Lifestyle
When I started incorporating weight training into my weekly routine, it was because a therapist mentioned that there is evidence suggesting it can help people who experience anxiety. Since then, I have made it a point to rarely miss my 2-3 weight training sessions each week. However, weight training may not be suitable for everyone. What’s important is finding some form of movement that allows us to ground ourselves in our bodies, benefiting both our physical and mental health.
Here are some practical ways I have shown up for myself over the years, even with young children at home and in my care. I hope they inspire you to do the same:
Utilizing Free Yoga Classes on YouTube with Children Around:
Use free yoga classes on YouTube, even if you have children underfoot. This allows you to engage in a mindful practice even if the children are home.
Combining Walks to the Playground with Body Weight Exercises:
Another strategy I employ is taking my kids for walks to the playground. I also use that opportunity to do bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups.
Integrating Gardening into Daily Rhythm:
I schedule gardening into our daily routine to involve my kids and create movement opportunities. This includes tasks such as lugging watering cans and pushing wheelbarrows of dirt. Gardening provides physical activity and teaches children about nature and responsibility. Check out my recommended gardening supplies, tools, and book on Amazon in the Family Gardening section.
Family Bike Rides and Bike Trailers:
Going for family bike rides or using a bike trailer is an excellent way to incorporate movement. It is a fun and interactive experience for everyone. It promotes cardiovascular fitness, strengthens muscles, and allows us to explore the outdoors together.
Making Use of Wait Times:
When dropping children off at lessons or activities, you can use the wait time to walk, run, or perform bodyweight exercises. It’s a productive way to utilize otherwise idle time and prioritize movement.
Locating Drop-In Gyms with Childcare Options:
Locate drop-in gyms near your children’s school or close to their afterschool activities. If you have very young children, find a gym that offers a crèche or drop-in childcare. You can also request to observe their childcare space so you can get a feel for the structure, the carers and the program’s rhythm. Ask questions, and if you feel comfortable- try it!
Collaborating with Parenting Partner:
Having weekly meetings with my parenting partner to go over our calendar and goals has been instrumental in sharing the childcare load fairly. This helps create spaces where he can take care of the children while I attend classes or work out.
Group Workouts with Friends and Teenage “Babysitters”:
Working out with friends at home and hiring their responsible teenage child to “babysit” the younger ones in the backyard (for a small fee) enables us to follow online workout classes while ensuring the kids are supervised. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Incorporating Active Commuting:
Instead of relying solely on motorized transportation, try to leave the house earlier and opt for active commuting. This includes parking the car and walking to work or school.
Socializing Through Active Outings:
Rather than meeting friends for coffee or a meal, I suggest meeting them for a walk. This allows you to catch up, enjoy each other’s company, and engage in physical activity simultaneously.
Most importantly, I schedule my plans into the calendar & try to honour that time like I would someone else’s. If you write it down and plan the rest of your schedule around that event, you are more likely to show up for yourself instead of constantly thinking about all the other things you should be doing with your time.
If you’re only just beginning a movement practice, choose one day a week to show up consistently. That one baby step will make all the difference. After a few weeks, you’ll find it easier to add another session to that one.
How do you prioritize movement and an active lifestyle for yourself?
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