Of all the possible distractions that could stop you from being active, there is probably nothing that seems to work quite as effectively as looking after children. Most people love having children but if they are honest will admit that they can be the reason that stop some people exercising as regularly as they should.
I want to deal with the problem that this mindset presents. The problem is that this assumes that it is a choice between being a good parent and staying fit. At the point at which you say that you have sacrificed working out for some other activity, you instantly suggest that it was either one or the other. Of course, for a lot of people that just simply isn’t the case.
So once you have a look at the people who do manage to balance time at work, time with the family and time in the gym, you have to admit that it is possible. And I think it is safe to assume these people, and there are plenty of them, are not some kind of superhuman. So if they can do it, why can’t you?
Caring for children is difficult. I don’t actually know anybody that would disagree with that. What is difficult about it is the amount of your time that is required to do it effectively. So if before you started a family you used to go to the gym in the mornings, that is often replaced with the school run. And if you preferred to train in the evenings, you are either getting the kids to bed or you are just too tired to even think about working out.
And that, in a nutshell, is the problem. How do we balance raising a family with maintaining our levels of physical activity? Let’s just point out the thing that you shouldn’t do. Trying to squeeze more hours into your day is probably not the best idea. So don’t just get up an hour earlier to fit in a workout. Why not? Well, because then you are jeopardising the quality of your sleep and you might end up doing more harm than good.
One possible solution is to get your kids involved. If people stop viewing children as a burden in this scenario then it is easy to see how they can be part of the solution. We are constantly being told about rising levels of obesity in both children and adults, so if you can ensure that your kids are active at the same time you are, you might just get yourself a perfect two birds, one stone scenario. Get them used to the equipment that they might use as they get older and try to include them in anything that is suitable for their age.
Each family is unique. But for this next bit, I’m working on the assumption that we are talking about a two-parent household and obviously that isn’t the case for everyone. But if you are able to share the responsibility between two people then it is much easier to find time that you can dedicate to exercise. Remember, effective workouts are getting shorter and shorter, so all you need is a spare 30-45 minutes everyday.
I tend to view parenting as the exception to the rule that people who want success find a way to overcome every obstacle. I accept that some living situations just might not allow for regular attendance at the gym. But let’s not forget parenting is seen as a workout on its own.
Starting a family doesn’t mean that you are resigned to giving up on areas of fitness that you are passionate about. It is so important that keep on doing the things that you love!