Exercising WITH your children: have fun, bond and get fit all at the same time
If you are a regular reader of the blog you might have read some of my articles on exercise and how it’s not entirely straight forward as a busy mum when your free time consists of hiding in the toilet for five minutes just to focus on what the rest of the day involves…just me?
Pre-children I was a 3 hour a day in the gym person.
Post-children, let’s say, different.
Being creative with time
Don’t get me wrong I’m creative. I try my best to figure out how I can exercise in-between the needs of my family, work commitments and general life. Over the years I’ve continued to run marathons but I’ve gone from maybe two full and two half marathons a year to one full marathon a year. I’ve tried to exercise in some form everyday. Sometimes that has been with home gym equipment, sometimes it’s been power walking up one of our local mountains and sometimes it’s been squatting whilst I iron or push ups against the work surface in the kitchen whilst the kettle boils.
I never walk up the stairs, I always run and I try my best to turn daily activities into a workout. I’m the one who lunges to pick something up of the floor…odd? Maybe. Necessary? Absolutely.
I have those 7 minute apps on my phone, the 30-day challenge, the kettle bell exercises, all those sorts of things – because 7 minutes should be possible shouldn’t it? You should be able to find 7 minutes everyday to get this stuff done. You’d think that would be feasible wouldn’t you?
Some days that happens, some days that doesn’t. It’s crazy.
“Tips” from others
“Leave the children with your mum” they say “and just go to a spin class”. Hmmmm, not actually possible – she died earlier this year, but even before that she lived in France so it’s never been an option.
“Exercise when they sleep” they say. Believe me I try. I try every night, but someone always does a poo and needs a bum wipe, or a drink, or one last cuddle or story. Each time I pick up the kettle bell, one of them suddenly needs me. It happens, that’s life.
What if I could go to a class but take my children with me? I know, the dream scenario. Not to leave them in a creche, but actually take them into the class? Do you know what? Such a thing actually exists now! I’ve seen stuff like this advertised in big cities, but never local to us…until now that is.
Have you heard of Sweaty Mamas?
In a random after playgroup chat a friend mentioned she had seen this class advertised where you take your children, and she was thinking of signing up for a six week block to see what it was like. Naturally, we gatecrashed. My ears pricked up…why wasn’t this around 11 years ago when I had my first baby? Why the hell didn’t I think of this myself?
So now we go along to our class every week, soon to be two classes a week and we exercise -together. I love it!
What if you have to feed your baby? Go ahead, that’s fine at Sweaty Mamas!
What if you have to change a nappy? Go right ahead, who wants to sit in a dirty nappy?
What if your toddler just wants to play? That’s fine, bring a bag full of toys and books if you like!
What if your toddler wants to run around? That’s totally fine at Sweaty Mamas!
What if they want to join in? That’s brilliant – strap you baby in a carrier and carry on or pop your toddler on your shoulders and squat like you’ve never squatted before.
Basically anything goes at Sweaty Mamas, anything that can help you get a full hour of exercise in goes. I took all four children on a snow day before Christmas and it was so good no one wanted to go home and they’ve been begging to go back ever since.
Let’s face it, the route to washboard abs for most of us mums is rather different than the celebrity path. There’s no private chef, dietitian, nanny, cleaner, or personal trainer to aid the process. We can’t hang around hoping someone might offer to watch the little ones whilst we go for a run.
We can however take charge and get involved with things like this. Classes like Sweaty Mamas are loved by mums and children and every day I get asked “Is it Sweaty Mamas today?”