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!