As parents, we are busy all day running from one thing to the next. If someone asks, “Do you exercise daily?” we may just laugh or roll our eyes and reply, “I wish I could, but I can’t fit it into my schedule.”
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? —1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV
This popular verse states our bodies are our temples, but for some of us, our temple feels more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. While you may not be able to spend an hour at the gym, there are little things you can do throughout the day that will greatly benefit your health.
1. Exercise with your children
Take some time each day to exercise as a family. Remember all those childhood games you used to play? Little did we know that when we were playing tag, red light green light, hopscotch, throwing a Frisbee and, of course, the classic hula hoop, we were actually exercising. If you only have 15-30 minutes, take the kids for a walk and get some fresh air.
On your days off, try to plan a fun daytime excursion such as hiking or going for a bike ride. For days that you don’t feel like getting outside, try doing stretches in the house followed by some lunges, jumping jacks, sit-ups and push-ups.
2. Fitting in exercise while you’re at work
If you have a lunch hour and the gym is close by, go for even just a half hour and do a round of circuit training. Another idea is to take a walk during your lunch time. Even a short walk will help stimulate your metabolism. If you sit at a desk, you can do stretches and even some bicep and tricep curls, or simply get a standing desk so that you’re not sitting all day long. Lunges are also easy to do in smaller spaces and are great for strengthening your legs.
3. Share fitness with your friends
The classic scenario is that when we do have time to spend with friends, it tends to be at a restaurant, shopping, or maybe a move theater. Next time, suggest that you meet somewhere and go for a long stroll. It will give you plenty of time to catch up while getting in some exercise. Or sign up to try a new exercise class together. Join a CrossFit gym, sign up for a weekly spinning class or enroll in a Zumba class together.
4. Quick ways to add a little fitness into your day
While you are getting ready in the morning, do some lunges when you brush your teeth, or try balancing on one leg. Whenever possible, get back to basics by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. If you go to the store, choose a parking space that is a little further from the door so you walk a few more steps each way. When you’re at home, grab two cans from the cupboard and use them to do some bicep and tricep curls.
5. Turn on some music
Are you ready to make dinner or do some housework? Try listening to some music and dance your way through the dusting. For a family activity, have a dance party. You can burn some calories, while having a lot of fun and sharing quality family time.
If you incorporate several mini-workouts throughout the day, you’ll be amazed to find that they total close to seven hours per week. It may seem that these short activities won’t account for much, but your body will say thank you. You’ll not only feel better, but you’ll have more energy. And for most parents that, in itself, is truly a blessing.