Finding time for yourself is always a big ask when you’re a parent. Add on the fact that you now have your children at home with you all day, every day for the foreseeable future and small acts of self-care (like your exercise regime) go out of the window.
But keeping active during this crisis is absolutely essential – both for your physical and mental health.
Research from the Total Fitness Real Life Ready report revealed that 42% of parents to young children would like to be fitter, however only 19% regularly work out. So perhaps this is your chance to shine.
Now that the gyms have closed, it’s time to turn your childcare duties into your workout.
Make naptime exercise time
For anyone with a newborn baby or toddler, naptime provides the perfect opportunity for you to fit in a quick workout. You might decide to take a walk around your local park (at a safe distance from anyone else) with the pram, or you might want to do a home workout.
There are plenty of YouTube workout videos and fitness apps to choose from. If you prefer planning your own workout, create your own HIIT (high intensity) circuit using bodyweight exercises and weights (if you have them).
Try the following circuit. Go for two rounds of 40 seconds work followed by 10 seconds rest:
- stomach crunches
- Russian twists
- mountain climbers
- squat jumps
- walking lunges
Turn walking into your workout
With the increased restrictions on leaving our homes, having an hour’s walk has never seemed so luxurious. Make sure that you take advantage of your daily exercise allowance by carving out an hour to jog, walk or cycle.
Your little ones will no doubt need to stretch their legs too so take them with you. Turn your walk into a game by getting them to pretend they’re spies, trying to avoid other people on their adventures, or compete for the fastest power walker.
Join their PE class
Joe Wicks, AKA The Body Coach, is everyone’s favourite PT…and now he’s the nation’s PE teacher. In response to the coronavirus crisis, he’s now hosting daily PE lessons for kids being homeschooled.
Every day at 9am Monday to Friday, PE with Joe is being aired on his YouTube channel. The workouts are specifically designed for kids. It’s 30 minutes of basic moves to get everyone energised and feeling positive. Despite the fact that it’s aimed at school kids, a free workout is a free workout – so join your offspring in the living room and get cracking!
You can join Joe’s daily classes here.
Get green-fingered together
We may be on lock-down but if you have a garden, spring is still happening! Gardening can be a great physical workout, burning up to 350 calories an hour while mowing the lawn, 400 an hour for pulling weeds and planting flowers and up to 450 an hour for raking and bagging leaves.
More than the basic burn, however, gardening also increases your mobility and flexibility as you move through a range of motions (squatting down to weed, lunging to go between plant beds, deadlifting grow bags etc). And being surrounded by nature is a guaranteed mood lifter. Seeing as none of us have anything better to do these days, set yourself the goal of getting your garden ready for summer and get your kids to help. Even little children can weed or pot plants.
Set aside an hour in the school day to take them outside for a break and to get their hands dirty.
Bring the party to your home
Everything feels depressing and strange right now – which is why we’ve got to do everything we can to maintain some element of normalcy and joy. Make your most high energy, uplifting playlist, stick it on the speakers and give your household a 30 minute living room disco.
There’s only one rule: no one can stop moving for the whole time.
Dancing is such a fantastic form of exercise. Not only does it get your endorphins going – making you feel great, but you can also burn anywhere between 200 and 400 calories from half an hour of continuous dancing.