I am one of those people with whom many women get annoyed.
Even after having 4 babies in 4 years, I was back to wearing the clothes I wore in college in a short few months.
Part of the reason is I was just plain lucky. Genetics has a whole lot to do with it.
Part of the reason, though, is I found ways to get some exercise. Today, I'm going to link up with the Finish the Sentence Friday ladies and share five of my favorite ways to stay somewhat fit while raising a gaggle of little kids. No gym membership or babysitter required.
1. Walk. With the addition of each child, I had to change up the way we took walks. At one point, I had a double stroller to push two kids, one baby strapped to my chest, and a four year old Phoenix on a bike. In order to get the maximum workout, don't invest in a jogging stroller. Build muscles while getting some cardio. Get the biggest, most difficult stroller to push. And don't take the easy walk. Trek up the biggest hills in your neighborhood. If you don't have hills, drive somewhere that does. (I was fortunate to live in a neighborhood that had a gigantic hill, but when we moved to the farm, I lost the neighborhood. I've taken the little boys to a random neighborhood, parked the car, and taken off on a walk many times.)
I know, many of you are thinking, "But when my child is on a bike, I am constantly having to chase him or scream for him to stop and the walk isn't any fun." Easy solution to that. I started this "game" the first time Phoenix graduated from the stroller. I still use it. When starting out, the kids will want to ride ahead. Let them, but give them a stopping point at a distance with which you are comfortable. For example, "Stop at the 2nd blue mailbox" or "Wait for me at the fire hydrant." The kids ride as fast as they want until they get to the marker you named, then wait for you to catch up. This will also give you incentive to walk at a good, fast pace so the kids don't have to wait too long.
2. Dance. We have about 20 kids' CDs. All I have to do is crank it up, and the kids and I can dance our little hearts out. Extra muscle building occurs when you agree to hold the kids (one at a time!) while dancing. Many days, we'd have music on all day, and I'd dance by myself while making their lunch or cleaning the house. Two of our favorite, fast-paced CDs are:
As the kids get older and don't want to dance with you, get a Wii and a Just Dance game. They will be happy to dance with you until you pass out. It is one serious workout.
3. Play. Wrestling with the kids will most certainly give you a workout, but if you are looking for a less chaotic exercise, "Airplane" and the like are good alternatives. Lay on your back with your feet up in the air. The child lays across your feet and you lift him up in the air. Extra muscle building tip...don't just let him hang up there. Bend your knees and try to give each other a kiss, then raise him back up. While on your back, put a baby on his belly on your shins, so you can do crunches, giving him a kiss with each one. Piggy back rides will give you a workout and make your kids very happy. Teach the kids how to do cartwheels or headstands or different kinds of somersaults. Or, if more applicable, have your child teach you.
4. Look like an idiot at the playground. We have spent countless hours at playgrounds over the years. Except when I had to chase a toddler at all times, I used that playground time for myself, too. The kids would be having fun playing, and I'd be hanging off of the monkey bars doing reverse pull ups. (Are they called drop downs?? I have never been able to haul myself up in a pull up.) Steps are good for calf-lifts (Stand on your toes on the bottom step, drop your heels down, then up as high as you can over and over.) and step exercises. (Duh. (Use the bottom step to do quick bursts of up/down steps.)) Go for a swing yourself, going as high as you can, really stretching yourself out and getting your arms and abs into it. Get creative and use whatever you playground has.
5. Kegels. Ladies, I cannot stress this enough. Kegels, Kegels, Kegels. I've always done them while driving in the car. Your older self will appreciate the work you put in when you are younger. I'm serious. Peeing yourself is no laughing matter.
Whatever you do, get the kids involved. You won't regret it. Unless you play soccer. Once your kids get to middle school age, for the love, give up playing soccer.
Make sure to make a stop back here this weekend. The Ten Things of Thankful hop is celebrating it's first birthday. We'd love to have you join us!
Have a lovely day!
You said a mouthful and I am minus too kids, but still they are a workout in themselves and those kegels are truly a necessary evil and couldn't agree more!! :)ReplyDelete
It's like you know me in real life. I rarely don't have a mouthful of things to say. :)Delete
Kids are a workout, no matter how many you are taking care of.
These are fantastic! I'm not even mad that you are blessed with magic jeans, good for you! I'm not as blessed, after my son I had to do hour-long jaunts of treadmill activity to lose weight. Which is fine, but with 3 kids you can imagine how many times I have an hour to do nothing :DReplyDelete
In the meantime, we're Just Dance-in' as much as we can and I'm getting my 4 yr old into Wii Fit, for as long as we can anyway :) I hear you no the stroller, our double stroller is quite an arm workout!
Thanks! Well, the magic could only last so long. Health factors and age have caught up with me, and the college jeans have now been put to pasture.Delete
That Just Dance is hard to do!! After three songs, I'm pooped.
Great ideas to stay fit! I'll have to try some of them over the summer. Very helpful post (I can see that I'll need to figure out how to use the Wii again!)ReplyDelete
Thanks! Hope they work out for you. We don't spend much time on video games around here, but I can't say no to Just Dance. It is a serious work-out.Delete
Those are great Christine! I am soooo NOT named Grace for a reason... I fell and broke my foot on the monkey bars...yeah, give up soccer if you want but I am not going back to the bars... (Of any sort for that matter!)ReplyDelete
Thank you! Ha! I was never good at the monkey bars. They are hazardous, though. kids who use bars too high for them fall and break bones all the time.Delete
Love your list, Christine and apparently, great minds think alike because Kegels! :)ReplyDelete
I'm a little annoyed that you fit into your college clothes but will forgive you for that because you know, I like you and stuff. I'm SO into looking like an idiot at the playground. I've never understood the parents who just sit and watch. It's much more fun playing chase and climbing on all of the equipment ourselves!
Thank you. I laughed when I saw you mention Kegels in your post, too. It's not like Kegels are things people talk about on a daily, weekly, or even yearly basis. Great minds? Who knows. But they are similar. :)Delete
I don't fit into all of them any more. Reaching 40 has had my body take a turn for the flabbier.
I'm in my 60s so throw Yoga in the mix. It does wonders with range of motion. Wonders.ReplyDelete
I love your approach to staying in shape. I had good genes too and wore my clothes after having babies too. We were/are lucky.
Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺
Yoga is a wonderful activity. I don't do it at home, but I've been to a few classes. I'm sure it will be something I do more of as everyone gets older.Delete
So lucky. My sister wasn't so lucky. With each of my pregnancies, she would hope this would be the pregnancy that would keep me from bouncing back. She wasn't completely joking.
I started doing Kegels while I was reading this. I am terribly at remembering to do them but need to!ReplyDelete
And I like the way you think...we were in similar thought modes! We dance a lot here, too, and I love it. It is exercise and it makes my heart happy. (And kudos on Philadelphia Chickens - we enjoy that a lot).
Thanks for the FTSF link up.
And still doing Kegels...
There are very few people I know who have ever heard of Philadelphia Chickens. It is an awesome CD. Funny and toe-tapping all in one.
Thanks for hosting this week!
Keep it up! :)
Good advice on the soccer playing. Staying active is fun until someone gets hurt. My grandma tried to do a cartwheel in her living room when she was in her 70s. Fortunately, she didn't hurt herself, and my mom convinced her that she should probably not attempt that again. However, she kept up with water aerobics into her 80s. There are plenty of safe ways to stay fit, and you've got a great list.ReplyDelete
I enjoy your grandmother more and more, every time you talk about her. There are plenty of ways to stay fit in a safe way. I just miss the competitive aspect of them. You know I'm going to be the 80 year old in water aerobics challenging the other old ladies to do reach the highest, run the fastest, or whatever they do in water aerobics, just faster/higher/better. :)Delete
You're the second person to mention kegels...apparently I need to google them...ReplyDelete
You must. And then do them.Delete
I cannot pass up a swing set without having to go on one. Lately Amelia and I have gone to the high school and walked on the track - so many women go there after dinner. James wants to come too so that he can start running. ... Great list and terrific tips. have a great weekend! :)ReplyDelete
The track is a great place to run, if one wants to run, as the surface is the easiest on the joints. Do you do some intervals while out there? Do a bit of sprinting alternating with walking?Delete
I am like you, one of the lucky ones who are just naturally slim...until 40-ish when the walking really helps mitigate the damage of the oreo cookiesReplyDelete
Hitting 40 is like a brick wall in metabolism. Good heavens, things just aren't the same.Delete
Your trick with the bicycling kid is genius! "Wait for me at the fire hydrant (or whatever)" would definitely work!ReplyDelete
It works like a charm. I've used it with other people's kids, too, and it always works.Delete
I used the bike ride ahead trick too - it works well! Now that the kids are older, I will sometimes go for a run with them. Or more accurately, run behind them. Not particularly fun, so I tend to hit the gym while they are at school instead.ReplyDelete
That trick works everywhere we go.Delete
Oh, I don't even try to run with them. My job is to stay with the little kids for the shorter, slower runs. The big kids can take care of themselves.
As soon as they are all in school, I'll be going to the pool. I love to swim laps, but haven't been able to do it for years.
Just cleaning the house with children present, especially toddlers, is the greatest workout I ever encountered. It goes on all day, not just an hour at the gym, and it's full throttle. I mean I was in the military, and they couldn't give me the workout my kids do.ReplyDelete
How could I forget about cleaning?? Oh, because I didn't do it all that often. :) Cleaning is a workout, with kids it's a super workout. Thanks for stopping by!Delete