This is a collaborative post with Thule Sweden
It’s always puzzled me why we set resolutions in January. It’s cold, it’s dark, and probably the hardest time to break old habits and start new and healthier ones. At least if you live in the Northern hemisphere that is. Of course, I can relate to the whole new year, new you phenomenon but I personally don’t think it is the best time to start a resolution. Especially not if it’s one that relates to getting more active and making exercise part of your life.
Why not start now? It is not too hot or too cold. The autumnal colours of nature makes it a beautiful backdrop for a run or walk.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never really enjoyed exercise. I used to like games at school, but that is mostly because I’m a competitive person so it became about winning more than working out. I’ve been blessed with a good physic and a high metabolism so I never saw the need to push myself.
Unfortunately, in my teenage years no one taught me about all the other benefits there are to staying in shape. How it can help you feel less tired and truly make a difference to your mental health. In 2013 I took up road biking. It was mainly as my partner at the time enjoyed it, as despite being from Denmark, a country filled with bikes, I had never seen it as more than a means to get from A to B. Certainly not something I would do for fun. Although as I realised that I could compete against myself, I really got into it. We planned to conquer Way of the Roses, a strenuous 300-kilometre bike ride through the Yorkshire Dales.
The interesting thing is not that I did it, that I climbed those hills in the pouring rain. No, the interesting thing is as soon as that was done, I stopped. At the time I didn’t realise the consequences, but it had a severe impact on my health and on my happiness.
Things happened and my life changed. I met Daddy Long Legs and not long after we tried for a baby. Caspian came along and while pregnant I knew that I had to do something to stay active. With a growing bump I didn’t feel comfortable getting back on the bike, so I took up running and started yoga.
Despite gaining an impressive 3,5 stone I felt fit and healthy throughout my pregnancy. Surprisingly, I didn’t think about exercise after Caspian was born. In retrospect, I should have. I’m not saying it would have solved everything but it would definitely have made a difference to my hormones and have helped me feel happier at certain stages post-natally.
Yoga is an obvious thing to continue even after your baby has arrived. Naturally, wait the recommended 2-3 months before you start any kind of exercise but after that, a brisk walk or light jog might really do you good. If like me you are at home with your baby, then a jogging pram really is a lifesaver. It means you take your baby out and you get exercise, too. We use the Thule Glide, which is recommended from six months onward. It allows for a smooth ride and I actually find it easier to run with it than without.
MAKE EXERCISE A FAMILY AFFAIR
Caspian absolutely loves his scooter. This was a Christmas gift from his grandparents and over the summer he’s really mastered riding it. So much so, that I struggle to keep up with him. We now go running together. This makes exercise fun and I forget that I’m running. I lose track of time as he giggles and shouts “Catch me, Mummy!” and so the minutes don’t seem as long as when I pounce the pavement on my own.
If your little one isn’t quite ready to run on their own, then the Thule Glide is again a great help. It ensures that both of you get a dose of fresh air as well as allows you as a parent to get physical and squeeze a workout into an otherwise busy day.
Alternatively, swimming is another great activity to do as a family. We have enjoyed using our local outdoor pool this summer and I hope to carry on with swimming through winter somewhere indoors.
I’ve always wanted to learn to play tennis properly. Caspian loves ball games, so I’m secretly hoping we can start together in a few years time. Daddy Long Legs is good at the game, but maybe C and I can give him a run for his money soon.
MAKING TIME FOR YOU, MAKES YOU A BETTER PARENT
As much as working out as a family is fun, sometimes you just need a break. We often seem almost scared to talk about our need to be alone. Once we become parents we feel guilty if we don’t want to spend every single second with our offspring. Although sometimes you simply need to just focus on yourself. In turn, this will allow you to be a better parent as your batteries are recharged and you feel energised once again. Or as energised as you can feel on 3 hours of broken sleep. Exercise is so important in this. As mentioned at the beginning, it has taken me years to really see the benefits that working out brings.
A run in the park, 10 minutes of yoga in the morning, a swim after work. Whatever you enjoy, whatever makes you feel good, go for it. You (and your family) will see the results!
SET YOURSELF ATTAINABLE EXERCISE GOALS
Rather than making it about weight loss or looking a certain way set yourself positive goals. Most importantly make your goals attainable. Keep in mind that a goal should be reachable, with an outcome you can expect to achieve given your skills, motivation, and values. As parents we often don’t have much time, things get in the way and routines fall by the wayside as life gets hectic and illness sets in, so be realistic and flexible when setting goals.
PUSH YOURSELF BUT DON’T FORGET TO RELAX
Whatever you hope to achieve through an active lifestyle; be it a fitter, healthier and more toned body, being able to keep up with your children or simply feeling happier overall, it is important to push yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and tick off those goals. Although it is equally important to rest!
Make sure you eat well! Drink water! Sleep! As someone who’s had days where she’d eaten the cold leftovers on her toddler’s dinner plate, completely forgotten to drink water and had broken nights, I know that this is not easy when you are a parent. Little people’s needs come before your own, but maybe it is time to prioritise yourself as well?
Do you have any tips to working out as a parent? I’d love to hear them in the comments below. What are your exercise goals?