Friday, November 04, 2011

Exercising and the Mini You's

Finding time to work out is hard enough.  Finding time to work out when you have kids can seem nearly impossible at times.  To have a successful workout plan, you need to make sacrifices.  This may mean getting up an hour earlier in the morning and getting less time to lay in bed, or exercising right after work and delaying returning home by an hour.

During the work week I find it easier to squeeze in my running without it interfering with my time with my kids.  However, on the weekend when everyone is home all day, or on days when I come from work early, I don’t like to miss out on the extra playtime with my boys.  On the other hand, I also want to be healthy and I absolutely love to run.  So what do I do?  How do I maintain a balance when time is so limited?

Well, I discovered a fantastic way to incorporate my kids into my running, so that even though I may be gone for 30-40 minutes, they know they will have a special activity with me when I get back.  When I return home from a run, I do some push-ups and a few different stretches. The boys help me to set up my mat and they wait for me to do my push-ups.  Then they each get a chance to try some push-ups, which always gets us laughing because my littlest is pretty silly.  Next, I begin my stretches by laying on my back and using a yoga rope to pull my leg back while it is pointed to the ceiling.  My son pushes up my leg and holds it into place for me, while counting to twenty.  After I’m done, it’s his turn to try.  After we are both done, of course the littler one wants to do it too.

I also found a great way to use my kids as weights.  The oldest weighs 35lbs and the youngest weighs 25lbs.  I hold them in my arms like a barbell and curl them up and down.  I also hold them under their arms and lift them high up and down.  My favorite exercise to do with them is my leg lifts, in which I lay down on my back, knees bent as if I am going to do crunches.  Then the kids take turns having a fun ride resting on my legs while I lift my legs off the ground.  They can barely keep count because of all the giggling!

So, instead of getting upset because I am going out for a run and they will miss me, my boys get excited because they know they will get to do their exercises with me when I get back.  The last thing my oldest asks me every night before he goes to bed is, "Daddy, are you going running tonight?"  When I say “yes,” he says, "Have a good run."  And if I say "no", he wants to know "why not?"

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