I am so excited to share with you today's guest blogger, Allie! When I decided to feature guest bloggers, I knew that I wanted to include fitness from the point-of-view of a busy mom. Being that we haven't started our family yet this isn't a topic I can give advice on (unless you're including Huxley and Maddie, LOL).
Allie is a neighbor and friend of mine, who I knew would be the absolute perfect person to write about staying active with kids! We both live up "north" in Oki and occasionally pass each other on runs which, by the way, I'm always impressed whenever I see Allie because she runs in SANDALS!
I hope you enjoy her blog post. It's filled with so many gems and great advice! Allie also has a blog where she shares crafts, recipes, Oki cafes and more if you're want to read more!
When Kellie asked me to write a guest blog she wanted me to share my favorite ways to stay active with kids. I have three kids that I homeschool, ages 11-5, so we are together A LOT! And I love it! But when you have young kids at home it can make it difficult to figure out ways to stay active and healthy. Staying active, whether it's with my kids or without, is one of the things I'm passionate about so I was happy to share how I make that happen and balance it all.
My number one favorite way to stay active is to go for a run, but that doesn't always happen with my husband's unpredictable schedule and work trips. When I only had two young kids at home the easiest way for me to go for a run was to put them in the double jogging stroller and head out. Pushing a double jogging stroller isn't for the faint of heart but it can make you so strong! Wherever we lived I always figured out the routes with minimal hills and smooth sidewalks. As my oldest children were able to ride bikes I slowly transitioned to pushing a single jogging stroller while they followed along on their bikes. Now my youngest is able to ride his own bike so I very rarely push that big ol' jogging stroller. Having my kids ride bikes while I run is always a win-win because everybody has a chance to move their bodies and get some much needed time outside!
Sometimes I want to go for a longer run but my kids just aren't up for a long bike ride. I've found that on those types of days it's easiest to bike and run to fun a park or playground and let my kids play while I run laps. They love the opportunity to have open-ended play and I leave happy because I was able to finish my run! We have a park that's close to our house that has a loop around a small pond and sometimes I just keep running until the kids are ready to head home. We always return home in a better state of mind and ready to take on the rest of the days' tasks.
While I'm on the topic of running, don't be afraid to have your kids run or walk with you! I've been surprised to see how much my kids enjoy it. Their endurance always surprises me and it's great for them to see what they're capable of. I don't know any kids that don't enjoy jumping at the chance to have a race and see who is fastest! It can be a great way to get everyone moving even if it's short-lived.
If I lost you at the word run a few paragraphs ago, maybe you'll prefer my suggestion of going for a hike! If you live in Okinawa there are limitless places to hike and many of them might be just outside your front door. Hiking is one of our favorite ways to explore the world together and stay active. If you're "stuck" at home with the kids it is such a fun way to break up the monotony and enjoy a change of scenery. Our hikes are even better when I grab a backpack and fill it with water, snacks, and nature journaling supplies.
If you want to let your kids play outside but you also want to do a workout I would suggest following along with an equipment-free HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout. There are some great options on YouTube and most can be accomplished in 20 minutes or less. Even better than YouTube, if you live in Okinawa then you can take classes from Kellie! Kellie offers some amazing classes all over the island as well as some really awesome personalized workout plans. I know she would be happy to create something for you that you could do at a park or at home! If you want a really good laugh invite your kids to do a HIIT workout with you. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard and gasped for air as much as I do when working on burpees and high knees with my kids beside me!
Depending on where you are in the world you might have any level of restrictions due to Covid. That comes along with its own set of struggles. Even during our strictest lockdowns I still made it an effort to stay active. I have been known to run laps around the house or grab a book and read it while walking back and forth through the house. I know that I needed the mental and physical challenge in order to not feel like I was going crazy. I totally understand what it's like to be stuck in the house and not be allowed to leave. I always finish a workout feeling better, with a clear head, and with a better state of mind.
If 2020 showed me anything about self-care, it's that making time for myself to move my body is one of the most important things I can do every day. When you're at home with the kids, each day will look a little different but make sure you find time to be active. I have never regretted making time for a workout first thing in the morning before the day starts and the kids wake up. I have explained to my kids that I need the time to be a better mom and teacher. It's awesome to see how they respect that and save all their questions and complaints until I'm done! Ha! If you don't know where to start just go for walk or challenge your kids to see who can do more jumping jacks. Showing your kids the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle will benefit them for years to come!