Being a stay-at-home Mom or Dad (or working parents for that matter) can make finding time for the gym a difficult and often expensive ordeal. Between nap time, babysitters (if your gym doesn't offer child care) and the guilt associated with not spending time playing with your children can add up quickly. What's a mom to do??
Sometimes you it is nice to have a running partner, especially if the baby needs a nap. Most little ones LOVE to go on walks and jogging with mommy really puts the wind in her hair!
Occasionally, you have 5 partners. If you plan on jogging for much distance, allowing them to ride bikes or, yes, even a power-wheel will give you more bang for less whine.
My oldest and I often "race" around the block to build his stamina for soccer. Everyone (even daddy) goes on at least one walk a day. You can always make walks more fun (and keep them moving) by making it a nature hunt or series of "time me from here to there". Suggest that the kids hop on one foot from one mailbox to the next then switch feet, turn in circles or walk backward.
Once you are home, keep moving and play with the kids at the same time. Children make excellent weights and help you to naturally progress in the amount you lift as they grow. If, like me, you have stair-step children, you already have most of a weight set anyway. Lift 'em, toss 'em, swing 'em, they'll giggle and you'll get in your workout. Here are a few ideas to get you started...
Bench, leg and overhead press as well as push-ups are all pretty easy to accomplish. If you have extremely still twins and really good balance, you might even pull off flies ;)
Make sure you are on a semi-soft surface... concrete and wiggly "weights" are not a good combo. Have the kids count reps with you to keep them involved. This way they are less likely to squirm. Also, know your limits! If your arms or legs are tired, don't push for one more when your child is the weight. It's one thing to drop a dumbbell, it's another to drop your child.
For presses, holding onto or placing your feet at the rib cage gives more stability and is less likely to injure tiny organs.
Chair lifts are made tougher by extending your legs... why not add a kid as well! My 3 year old is fantastic at cheering mommy on and letting me know if I am going deep enough.
Watch your form. Even though you have a child in your lap, you can't get lazy. Nothing ruins a workout like a strained shoulder, elbow, back or hamstring.
Gluts play a big role in the daily lifting and carrying. Give them some love by having your child bear hug your waist and ride along as you lift and lower your leg. Using a chair for balance is a good idea even if you are a drishti pro!
Use the swing set for pull-ups and hanging crunches. While you are at it, SWING! Throw in a game of freeze tag or follow the leader, too. Exercise can be fun as well as beneficial and no one is timing your workout except you.
Get the dog in on the action with some tug-of-war and be sure to stretch and hydrate.
There you have it, no excuse! If you don't have a swing set... or a yard, hit the park! The baby in the stroller is your only and too small for some of this stuff? No worries! Lunges and leg lifts work well with a stroller. Babies tend to think it is hilarious to play peek-a-boo during push-ups in front of the stroller. Do yoga around and over them as baby lays on a comfy blanket or count reps out in a funny voice. If they get used to being with you while you exercise when still tiny, they are more likely to be willing participants as they get older.
ABOVE ALL, KEEP IT FUN! If the kids aren't up for it today, try again later. Seeing you having fun will encourage your children to exercise. Seeing you throw a fit over not getting in enough reps will turn them the other way. Be the example!
Now, GO WORK OUT!