This post forms part of the A-Z of Self-Care for Busy Parents series. If you missed the introductory post you can read it here.
As much as it pains me to admit it, we can’t talk about self-care without mentioning exercise. If you’re anything like me, you already know it’s something you ‘should’ be doing, but fitting it in can be a pain.
This week we’re going to talk about why exercise is so important and how you can fit small amounts into your daily life without taking any time away from your family (unless you want to).
Benefits of regular exercise
- Increased energy
- Improved mood
- Decreased feelings of depression, anxiety and stress
- Better sleep
- Weight loss
- Stronger bones
- Improved brain health and memory
- Better sex life
I’m sure the list above didn’t come as any great surprise and you already knew most, if not all, of them. But, knowing the benefits and actually doing something about it are very different.
I’m the first to admit that I am terrible when it comes to adopting a regular fitness routine, but I’m also the first to admit that when I do exercise I feel so much better. Not only do I have more energy, I feel better about myself. There’s an enormous sense of accomplishment and an increased feeling of self-worth that comes with having done some exercise.
So, if exercise is so amazingly good for us, and we all know the benefits, why do so many of us avoid it?
The most common excuse seems to be not having the time (I use this one), but deep down it’s probably more that we’d rather be doing something else. Instead of beating ourselves up for our lack of formal exercise, it’s time to let ourselves off the hook and have fun.
There a million different post out there about different exercise routines you can try and how to motivate yourself to get (and keep) going. This isn’t one of them because, quite frankly, I would feel like a hypocrite.
Instead, I want to give you a few ideas for fitting in some form of exercise on a daily basis that doesn’t necessarily feel like ‘exercise’.
Exercise without ‘Exercising’
- Take the kids to the park (or even the back garden if you have one) and kick a ball around or play tag.
- If the kids have a trampoline, get on it with them for 10 minutes.
- Have a dance party – my kids love this one.
- Get out on family adventures at the weekend – treasure hunts, visiting castles/National Trust properties, a local walk, a trek through the woods, geocaching. Anything that gets you all out having fun together but also involves being on your feet.
- Family races/competitions – who can get to the next lamppost/the front door/the post box etc the fastest?
- Next time you’re at a park with the kids, join in – try the monkey bars and the obstacle course (although obviously don’t get in the way of any other kids).
- Family bike rides.
- Reclaim your childhood and climb a tree with the kids.
- Dance while doing the cleaning – crank the music up and make the boring household tasks a bit more fun and get some exercise at the same time.
Obviously, if you have weight loss goals, it’s going to take more than the above, but these are great ways to get the blood pumping and have fun. None of them take any extra time out of your day, other than spending more time with the kids, and everyone will feel better and more connected for it.
Need more tips for self-care? Don’t want to miss the rest of the series? Enter your details in the box below to receive it in your inbox every week. And remember to bookmark the introductory post (here), the links to each new post will be added on to there as they are published.