This one's for all you moms out there with not much time for exercise. I know exactly how that feels! I've had to get pretty creative to work some exercise into my life with my son. Fortunately, he loves being outside and going for hikes. He's a fast runner and only has two speeds: run and stop. If he was slower and less interested it would definitely be harder to get as much exercise.
So I'm going to share what I do for exercise while I'm with my son- your child might require something different, but that's ok. My best advice to other moms is: don't give up on finding time for a little exercise in your daily routine... keep trying, and take each day as it comes. Some days I have to completely give up on my plans. That's just life with a toddler!
Option 1: In the park
I do A LOT of Pilates in the park. We go almost every day for at least an hour if not two. When we first arrive he's a pretty happy guy so that's the best time to try a few moves while standing at a discreet distance. You gotta have some grit though- and not care what other people might think of you while you are doing your moves! Also I never get more than 3 minute snatches so it's a lot of starting and stopping.
These are the exercises I do most often, and they are all done while standing:
Standing glute med glide
Opposite arm/leg reaches
One leg circles
Torso Rotation with a variety of arm positions
A variety of one leg balancing exercises
Once I'm warmed up, if things are still looking good with my son, I will try some challenging stuff on the playground equipment. Depending on the park you can try:
Press ups on railings at a variety of angles
Tricep dips on railings or benches
Monkey bars (this is GREAT for your shoulders)
Don't forget to stretch your shoulders too. I usually do that after any hard shoulder work on the monkey bars!
Of course, the games with my son are pretty good exercise too. We race up ladders, we play the "monster" game- I pretend to be a monster and chase him, or I simply have to bend and reach to keep him safe. It's an active place, and adding in that activity to your daily routine is really good for your health and general fitness level.
Option 2: At home
It's a lot harder to work out at home with an active toddler. Any time I am on the ground he jumps on me. No joke. So instead of making it a "workout" I do games with him that are pretty physically challenging. Here are a few suggestions:
Froggy chase (leaping like a frog and saying "ribbit!")
Bear chase (running on hands and feet- not recommended if you have a bad back!)
Furniture islands (picking him up and lifting him in a high arc from the bed to the chair, etc)
Body drop (lying on my back, lifting him over my chest and holding him there, then dropping him fast!)
Just picking him up and carrying him around is plenty hard. Especially now that he's over 30 lbs. Try to remember to engage your core muscles as much as possible. If you can squeeze in an hour a week for a Pilates class, then please do! We all need a break and some time to ourselves.
If any local moms out there want to meet in the park to work out with me, please let me know! I'd love to have company :-)
Diane Archer, Pilates Instructor from the UK now living back in Canada. Blog of tips, thoughts, home challenges.