Get the Whole Family Moving!
Are you a busy parent? You are not alone. It is harder than ever to fit in time for self care and exercise, especially when you are a parent. October is National Chiropractic Health Month and the theme chosen by the American Chiropractic Association this year is "Move4Life." We are also celebrating Chiro Kid's Day on Oct 25th in Wisconsin facilitated by the Chiropractic Society of Wisconsin! As a busy mom with two young children, I've found it harder than ever to find time to exercise. I've struggled with not wanting to sacrifice precious time with my kids by having them go to childcare at my yoga studio or a fitness center, so that I can exercise. I have worked to find ways to have them be active with me while having fun and spending quality time together.
According to State of Obesity, childhood obesity rates have slowed the rate at which they increase, but continue to rise. Rates of obesity in youth were 18.5% and for adults 39.6% in 2015-2016. With rates so high, I feel it is extremely important for my kids to see me being active and to be active themselves. Focusing on limiting sedentary activities like video games and watching TV shows is key. As a child I grew up watching my mom participating in aerobics classes and other exercise her whole life, and I think it made a huge impact on me recognizing its importance and incorporating it into my lifestyle, well before my chiropractic education.
Even though it is challenging, I have found some great ways to have quality time with my kids while being active. Finding indoor activities for the constantly changing Wisconsin climate is a must. My 18-month-old loves music and dancing, so I found a Zumba class on our Amazon Prime account and I did aerobics while the kids danced to the music and followed along with the moves. They had a blast and loved the Latin music and instruments in the video. There are several exercise videos to choose from that are free with the Prime subscription and can be a fun and free way to exercise from the comforts of our own home!
Last week we decided to try out the "Toddler Jump" at our local trampoline park. I had been hesitant going in the past due to potential injury concerns and worried about older kids colliding with my little ones, so the specific toddler time was perfect! My toddler, my 4-year-old and I bounced for an hour and a half and had a great workout and so much fun! They had balance beams over landing pillows and balls and basketball hoops, and even a Ninja warrior course to help practice balance and coordination. They also have an indoor playground, so climbing up walls, steps, and swinging from ropes, and crawling through tunnels was a great activity.
We also have had a great time as a family going rollerblading and rollerskating at our local rollerskating rink. The rink offers "skate mates" to help younger children stay upright while they are learning to skate. We started my oldest rollerskating and rollerblading at age 3 and he was soon able to do it without assistance. He wears knee pads, elbow and wrist pads, while skating to help prevent potential injury. My husband or I pushes my youngest around the rink in his umbrella stroller and he loves it! I also started taking my son at age 3 to the ice skating rink and they have helmets and "skate mates" there for young kids to use as well.
My 4-year-old loves doing "Little Yogi" classes, which are geared specifically for young children and an adult. It is great to help kids learn to be aware of body position, but also beginning to teach them how to calm their mind and body and begin to learn to meditation. Meditation has been show to help kids become more compassionate and empathetic and some schools have been implementing meditation instead of detention for kids and are getting great results.
Running is another great activity to include kids on. Throughout the year, I participate in various charity runs and many have started adding activities for kids and shorter duration runs for kids. I have pushed my kids in the jogging stroller as infants and now my 4-year-old has asked to participate in a kid run, so including them early on can help facilitate the drive to exercise later.
Lastly, another great option for family exercise is swimming. Many of the local hotels have certain days where they offer local residents free or low rate prices for swimming. The local YMCA is also a great place to check for open swim times and the typically have low, non member rates for swimming at certain days and times. Indoor water parks can be a great source of family exercise as well. Climbing steps to get to the top of the slide and then swimming to the ladder can be very aerobic.
Find something active you enjoy with your family and keep them moving while having fun!