Wellness for the Family: Get Healthier While Spending Time With Kids
From work to household chores and children, it can be difficult for moms to find time throughout the day to focus on their health goals.
For many, the easiest time of the day to try and fit in exercise is when the children are sleeping either early in the morning or at night, but sometimes finding the energy to wake up earlier or stay up later can be a daunting task.
In this week’s Wellness for the Family, Michelle Dunaway and Grace Derocha, a registered dietician with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, show us a number of ways that moms can focus on their health this summer, while having fun with their children and without committing extra time in their already hectic day.
Meal Plan: Mapping meals out ahead of time makes it easier to stick to healthy choices. Last minute dinner decisions can lead to more convenient options that may not be as good for you. Ask your children what kinds of foods they’d like to eat throughout the week and then decide on a plan together. They’ll be more likely to eat healthy meals if they had a hand in helping to choose them.
Plant a Garden: Save time and money at the store by planting a few herbs and/or vegetables in the backyard. Gardening helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and prevents diabetes, heart disease, depression and osteoporosis when practiced on a regular basis. Better still, kids love to dig in the dirt and can help plant, water and harvest any produce.
Prepare Healthy Snacks/Meals Together: Involving children in the cooking process makes it easier for moms to cook healthy meals and snacks for the whole family instead of trying to make separate options for her and children who might be a bit pickier. Prepare a post- or pre-workout smoothie and let your children help wash the fruit and veggies to put in the blender or spend time making ant logs with celery, peanut butter and raisins. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, kids are more apt to eat healthier foods if they’ve been involved in the process. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Hit the Pool: Swimming is a great workout that burns a ton of calories and ensures everyone stays cool! Try holding your child out in front of you and doing squats in the water or wading around the shallow end for some resistance training. Treading water while you supervise little ones is also a great, full-body workout.
Re-imagine Your Dumbbells: Who needs weights when you have little ones in tow? Incorporate your children as weights into your routine for a challenge and extra cuddle time. Sit them on your stomach for intense sit-ups or hold them out in front of you for a fun, goblet squat. The possibilities are endless!
Run, Walk or Roll: Go for a pre- or post-dinner walk with the family or have your children accompany you while you run or bike. Babies, toddlers and young preschoolers can ride in a jogging stroller, bike seat or bike trailer. While you jog or run, older preschoolers and grade-schoolers can get their own workout on scooters, tricycles or bikes.
Dance it Out: Everyone loves to dance! Pump up the music and get moving. Vigorous dancing is a great cardiovascular workout. You can use the kids’ music, your own, or even play an aerobic dance video that the kids can get down to while you follow the instructor.
Play at the Park: Jungle gyms offer all of the necessary equipment for a satisfying workout. While the kids play, use a swing to prop up your feet and do a few push-ups or lunge around the perimeter of the playground. Instead of sitting at the picnic table to observe, use the seat as a tool to get in a few step-ups or tricep dips. Also, monkey bars can double as a great pull-up bar.
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