I´m not a parent and I have no plans to be one in the near future, so I can´t speak with any personal knowledge about how to effectively managing the challenges of being a parent. That being said, there was an article on MSNBC.com two weeks ago that seems to me to be excellent source of ideas on how to find time to exercise when you are busy raising your kids. At the very least it is certainly comprehensive — it offers 21 different tips. The benefits of exercise on your productivity are obvious and well documented. Even if you don´t have kids it is an interesting list full of good ideas — some of their multi-tasking suggestions and dual-purpose activities are great. Here are some of the ones that stuck out to me:
1. Take advantage of napping with a jog stroller. Nothing like a quick run or fast walk with a jog stroller while your baby or toddler conks out for a late morning or afternoon nap. The larger wheels of a jog stroller offer less resistance, making the stroller easier to push and putting less strain on wrists and shoulders. Plus, you get in some cardio while your child gets fresh air. Even if your child wakes up early from napping, the walk home becomes an activity in itself. Limit running or fast walking to 45 minutes to avoid shoulder strain from pushing the stroller.
13. Take advantage of TV time and phone time. If you have a favorite television show that you watch regularly or find yourself watching a movie with the kids, don´t just sit on the couch during it. Yoga positions, leg lifts, sit-ups, push-ups, or stretching enable you to get in your exercise time as well. Talking away on the telephone? Take advantage of the time to stretch!
15. Working parents: exercise over lunch or on the road. Join a gym near work and exercise over lunch, or use lunchtime to walk or run. Even a 20-minute swim can leave you feeling re-energize and ready to face the rest of the workday! Traveling for work: Pack some sneakers and shorts, and hit the hotel gym first thing in the morning.
21. Even little things can make a difference. Always take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Or park at furthest end of the parking lot when going shopping. The extra walking can count as part of your workout! And remember this: if you work in just a 10-minute workout each day, by month’s end you will have exercised over 300 minutes!