Fitting Fitness into Family Life
With Christmas done and dusted for another year and a week (or maybe more like a month!) of overindulgence behind us, many parents' thoughts turn to getting back into shape or resuming/stepping up an existing exercise regime.
But winter weather hardly encourages us in our aims – when the kids are in bed, it's all too tempting to draw the curtains, pour a glass of wine and get our teeth into the latest box-set and perhaps some of the leftover Christmas chocolates. As a parent, you're probably already struggling to fit it all in – family life and work leave little 'me' time, and you certainly don't want to use all of it up working out.
With these things in mind, we've looked at ways to help you ease your way into or back into a fitness regime and keep your New Year's resolutions. Ways that don't involve signing up for expensive gym membership and then beating yourself up about not making the most out of it…
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and fit new year!
• Put your exercise gear on even when you don't think you'll have time to do anything. Then you're ready to grab the opportunity when it presents itself – a 15-minute jog or bike-ride snatched after the school run is better than nothing. If it doesn't happen, then so be it.
• On the other hand, schedule exercise into your diary on a weekly basis. You may not be able to do it every day, or at the same time every day, but blocking off three sessions a week in your schedule gives you a greater chance of sticking to a regime.
• Mix it up. It's obvious that you're more likely to carry on exercising if you choose an activity you enjoy, but even favourites can grow stale with repetition. Vary your activities across the week, and think outside the box – half an hour on the kids' trampoline can remind you of how much fun exercise can be.
• Build fitness into your family life. At weekends, take bike rides or go for a long walk through the woods together. This may not be an intensive work-out for you, but it will burn calories and get you out in the fresh air, as well as getting the kids into good habits to carry into adulthood.
• Swimming is another great family fitness activity – when your kids get older and don't need you to hold or directly supervise them in the pool, you can do some lengths or some exercises in the pool (Pilates stretches can be even more effective done in water).
• Similarly, avoid the car where possible – it will teach the kids about environmental responsibility as well as helping you all to keep fit.
• Look for opportunities to double up or multi-task. For instance, do exercises during TV commercials or while watching the late-evening news.
• Schedule exercise – a run or a gym class – with friends. Then you get to socialise at the same time, and you're less likely to bail out than if you were going alone.
• Trade exercise time with friends: they look after your kids for half an hour or an hour while you work out on the basis that you will do the same for them.
• Don't let a family holiday or break get in the way of your routine. Choose a family-friendly property with great childcare and go for a run in the grounds or a swim in the pool. Alternatively, trade time with your partner so that you both get some time to exercise.
Read about Luxury Family Hotels' family-friendly spas.