Kids preventing you from getting in daily exercise? Try this.
Many moms struggle to find time each day to exercise. And according to a recent study published in PLOS One, the number and age of the mom’s children play a significant role in the amount of daily physical activity she is able to get.
Women between the ages of 20 and 34 were entered into the study between 1998-2002 and followed for years. Those with children 4 years of age or younger got less than 18 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in a day, and mothers of two or more children got about 21 minutes of daily exercise.
“Moms have a lot on their plates,” says Dr. Jeremy Daigle, medical director of the Healthy Active Living Program. “So instead of piling physical activity on top of an already loaded to-do list, I recommend making it an enjoyable family activity. You’ll teach your child how important physical activity is for the whole family, and they’ll learn healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”
Dr. Daigle says exercising together will make your child more excited to move their body and can even strengthen social skills.
“Depending on the activity and effort, you can talk about your day and understand each other better,” he explains.
He offers the following tips for making movement as fun and interactive as possible:
- If you have younger children, walking with them around the neighborhood is an easy way to get out the house and explore your environment. Point out different things your child sees as you walk, or make it even more interactive with a scavenger hunt.
- School-aged children love any kind of attention from their parents. Ask your child what kinds of things interest them (YouTube videos, social media dances like those on TikTok, outside activities like basketball or soccer if the weather permits) and do them together. You can also get your children involved in any extracurricular activities that may get them motivated.
- Play dates and dance parties can also be helpful to keep children active. Birthday parties don’t have to be stationary (think trampoline parks.) And remember – you’re never too old to join in on the fun.
“Just because you have a treadmill or elliptical at home doesn’t mean your child is going to be excited about or interested in them. Ask your kids what they enjoy doing and be sure to do it as a family,” he says. “The earlier you start teaching your child the importance of movement, the better. Children learn from what they see, so try your best to model great behaviors for you and your family. Think outside the box and get creative. You’ve got this!”
About the Author
Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.