Fitting in Exercise When You Have Young Kids

It’s possible for parents of young kids to fit in a workout. Here are a few tips that will help.

Parents with young kids are faced with a shortage of time. When you have a baby, your gym time may become almost nonexistent. After all, how can you lift weights or attend a Zumba class with a baby or toddler in tow? Not only that, but most new parents just aren't able to prioritize workouts over their children. Fortunately, it's still possible to reach your fitness goals AND be a stellar parent. It just takes a little creativity to figure out how to fit in your workouts.

Sneak in extra movement

Yes, it may be harder to fit in exercise when you have a baby, but you can squeeze extra movement throughout your day. Do squats while brushing your teeth. Go for a walk as a family after dinner. Walk when you can, and park further away when you drive. Don't feel like you have to sit down just because your child is with you.

Trade workout times

We've all got seven days in a week, so here's an idea: If you and your partner trade off workout days, one of you can workout every day, and you'll still get in three workouts a week. Brilliant, right? Don't have a partner? Find a friend who's willing to trade babysitting with you so you have a chance to get your heart rate up.

Try a workout video

Workout videos are an easy way to exercise with or without kids. You can check out DVDs at most libraries, or search online for free workout videos on YouTube. The nice thing about workout videos is the flexibility. You don't need to leave home to get in a good sweat. Plus, the programs can be as little as 10 minutes, so you can squeeze in time during your baby's nap. If your toddler wants to get in on the action, do the video together. Your kids will love trying the moves, and it will help instill healthy habits in them.

Workout in the morning

Studies show that people who workout in the morning are more consistent than those who exercise later in the day. Don't love the morning? Become a morning person with a routine that helps energize you for the day. You're probably awake with your baby anyway, so put on those workout clothes and give it a try.

Aim for shorter workouts

None of us have the same amount of time as we did before our kids came along. Don't let lack of time stop you from being fit. Even a short workout can be effective. Shoot for 20 minutes. If you have more time, do a longer session. A few minutes here and a few minutes there can take you from slob to suave.

Utilize a jogging stroller

Nap time is a great time to load up your young kids in a jogging stroller. Tuck them in tight and head outside for some fresh air. You'll find that a jogging stroller loaded down with one (or two) kids can get pretty heavy after a while. This makes it a great workout for you, and a change of scenery for the kids.

Dance party

Kids love spending time with you. Turn on some snappy music, and dance with your kids. Your workout can be as light or heavy as you want it to be. For extra resistance, hold your toddler while you dance. After a few songs you'll be sweating and having the time of your life.

Make it a date

Instead of the go-to date night (dinner and a movie) think outside the box to fit in exercise and bonding time with your partner. Go for a bike ride. Learn to play a sport together. Go for a long walk and explore the great outdoors. Spend quality time together while still reaching your fitness goals.

It's possible for parents of young kids to fit in a workout. It may not be easy, but it's possible. Set your fitness goals, and then brainstorm how to reach them. Kids don't mean the end of exercise.