The following is a guest post from Amy. If you think having kids means not having time to work out think again. I love her simple ideas for working out with the kids!
I remember a time in my adult life, even if it was short lived, when I could go to the gym or workout at home for hours on end if I wanted to. It was at that time that I was the fittest I had ever been in my life.
Some people would tell you that I had an exercise addiction, but I never felt it was that serious. My day went something like this wake up, go to the gym for 3 hours, shower, go to school, workout for 1-2 hours, go to work, go home and go to bed. Most days I would work out at least 4 hours a day, some days 5 hours a day. I enjoyed working out, most of my time was spent doing cardio of some sort.
Then during my Sophomore year of college I got pregnant with my oldest boy. The Dr told me that I had to stop working out because it was causing issues in my pregnancy. After he was born the 70 lbs that I had gained were all lost with in 3 weeks, most of the weight had been water weight. I tried to workout, but I knew I wouldn’t have time to do 4-5 hour workouts a day anymore. I tried to do shorter workouts, but as a single Mom who worked full-time and went to school full-time I didn’t have the time, energy or money to go to the gym anymore.
That’s when I knew something had to change because I knew the benefits of exercise and I couldn’t just ignore it. I decided to try something new to me, I would do light weights and body weight exercises at home. That worked for a while, but by the time my little guy was mobile he was all over me while I tried to get in a good workout. I didn’t feel safe using the free weights around him now that he could grab them.
I gave up on working out for a few years.
Then I decided to give something else a try because it was bothering me so much that I wasn’t exercising. On top of my body weight I would use his as well in my workouts. It would give him something he wanted to do (be on me) while I worked out. I would lay on the ground in the position to do a bench press, he would lay across my hands and I would bench press him.
Or I would lay my upper body on the ground, with my knees bent up and have him sit on my feet while holding onto my legs. I’d then lift him to a 90 degree angle. While doing push-ups he would sit on my back. I would do curls with him. Squats with him in my arms or on my back. When it came time for cardio we would either go for walks, run around the yard, dance to super fast beat music or I’d bust out the aerobics step and we’d do step aerobics together. As I would stretch he would sit next to me and do stretches too.
The nice thing about it was I didn’t have to get new equipment as I became stronger. He was constantly growing, so my resistance was gradually increasing as well. Instead of feeling like a workout it felt like play time to both of us. As he got older I also picked up some equipment for just him to use.
The past 3 years has brought change to our little family. I got married on Leap Day 2008, then in March 2009 we added another boy and March 2011 a little girl. The workouts now are interesting. Instead of body weight of one child I have two who want to sit on my back while I do push-ups. Instead of everyone using my aerobic step we have little step stools for the boys to step up onto.
I have also added weights back into our workouts. I have little 1 lb hand weights for the 2 year old and 5 or 8 lbs for the 10.5 year old. I use a bar with whatever weight I need. Our workouts still feel like play time to all of us. I think that is one of the most important things in working out with the children, to make it enjoyable so that they will enjoy it and want to do more.
Amy Welling has degrees in Physical Education and Exercise Science as well as a MSEd in Exercise Physiology. She is a SAHM to her two crazies and one little miss. She homeschools her eldest child who is in the syndrome mix (Tourette’s Syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome & ADHD) and blogs about Life in the Syndrome Mix. When she’s not taking care of the children, her husband and home Amy is studying to take the American College of Sports Medicine Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist Exam so that one day she can return to work as an Exercise Physiologist in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation.