As a fitness trainer and a busy mother of two, I know from personal experience the challenges of taking care of the kids, house, dog and my great aunt who keeps calling at dinner time. Somewhere between changing diapers and running after toddlers we can forget that as parents we need to take care of ourselves too, whether that means packing our own snacks and drinks or just taking time to exercise while we are playing with the kids.
Here are a few tips I like to incorporate when playing outdoors with my kids to ensure I am at my best:
Play and Stay Fit
Play dates at the park are the perfect way to keep your little ones entertained and active during the warmer months. But sipping a latte while you watch them from the sidelines doesn’t do anything for your fitness level. Play with your kids and burn off a few extra calories while you give them some quality time. Try a game of hopscotch to tone the butt and legs, play tag for a cardio kick or simply climb up, down and all around the playground equipment. A 150-lb person will burn approximately 175 calories in just one hour of “playtime!”
Rubber Band Trick
Adults need 2-3 L of fluids per day to stay adequately hydrated, and even more in extreme heat or when exercising. Nursing mothers need to be especially mindful of fluid intake as hydration is essential to milk production. If you’ve gone the way of the reusable water bottle, how do you keep track? Place 4-6 rubber bands on your 500mL bottle (or 2-3 rubber bands for a 1L bottle) and remove one each time you drink and refill your bottle.
Of all the activities you can get the family involved in walking is by far the simplest, most convenient and least expensive. Parents of infants and toddlers can strap baby into a front or back carrier to burn a few extra calories, just as one would when wearing a weighted vest. While you’ve got that extra resistance, be it 8 or 25 pounds, why not turn your walk into a work out? Add walking lunges as you travel down the block. Stop at a stair and step on and off, alternating feet or use the full set of stairs for a more intense cardio interval. When exercising, be sure to replenish your body’s fluids by sipping water throughout your workout. After an intense outdoor workout, I like glacéau vitaminwater as it packs a double punch, with hydration and the much-needed carbohydrates to fuel your aching muscles, leaving you ready to tackle those lunges again on your next walk.
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Dara Duff-Bergeron, Personal Trainer and Pre/Postnatal Fitness Specialist