Yay, summer is officially here! If you’re a mom of school-aged children, you know that summer brings so many fun things: sleeping in, slower mornings, hanging out at the pool, going on vacation, and kids participating in camps. But summer is also known for disrupting the schedules we’ve carefully curated for ourselves while kids are at school, including our health and fitness routine. What’s a mom to do? In this article, I’ll give you some ideas for ways to stay active with the kids in tow.
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Join a Gym with Childcare
When my girls were younger, they loved going to the gym with me to play in the childcare center. Some gyms in Austin even have pools that the whole family can enjoy, practically making for a fun stay-cation. Many gyms offer month-to-month plans so you can join only for the months needed rather than an entire year. This list from Yelp can help you narrow your search for gyms near you that offer childcare.
When you’re searching for a gym, create a list of the factors that are most important to you (in addition to childcare). These can include:
- Days/hours the gym is open
- Amenities provided, such as classes that fit your schedule
- Training options
- Friendliness/knowledge of staff
- Member perks
Armed with this list, you’ll be sure to find a facility near you that checks most of the boxes.
Find a Mom Workout Group
There are many options these days for moms getting together to exercise with their children in tow. Groups like Fit4Mom offer many locations all over town to make it easy to work out. Another option is to start your own exercise group! Send a text to your mom friends and offer to be the organizer for (or take turns organizing) exercise outings. Ideas for activities include:
- Early morning/late evening walks with strollers when it’s not so hot
- Exercise video at someone’s house while the kids play
- Quick boot camp class while an older kiddo babysits
- Yoga at the park while the kids hang out
Organize a Babysitting Swap
Ask a few of your mom friends if they’d be interested in participating in a babysitting swap. The idea is that one mom watches the kids while the other mom works out. Not only does each mom get a break but it’s free babysitting: win-win! A babysitting swap is useful way beyond getting your workouts in! You can use them for date nights, mental health breaks, salon appointments, etc. As long as everyone participates equally, this is a great way to help each other out while also reaping the benefits.
Find an Activity the Entire Family Enjoys
When children see mom and dad exercising, they’re much more likely to understand the benefits and lead active lives themselves. In fact, statistics show that a “child’s level of physical activity rises by 5 to 10 minutes for every 20-minute increase in the physical activity of a parent.” Similarly, children walked an additional 200 to 350 steps for every 1,000 steps that a parent walked.
Therefore, it can be fun for the entire family to find an activity that everyone can participate in. Sports clubs like tennis, golf, pickleball, racquetball, etc. will often offer both adult and children’s classes. Even if it’s not a formal class, load up the family and play on your own! Here you’ll find a map of Austin-area tennis courts, not all of which are restricted to members. Make a point to show your child that moving your body is fun as well as healthy!
Incorporate Activity Into your Daily Life
Have you noticed how kids just naturally want to move their bodies? They run on the playground, dance with their animated friends on tv, and basically never stop moving. Here’s an idea: move with them! Run with them, dance with them, act silly with them. Not only will it delight your child, but you’ll be surprised by how good of a workout it can be! Similar to the point above, moving along with your children teaches them that movement is fun as well as good for you. I’ve noticed that while children naturally want to move and play, we tend to lose that as we get older. I challenge you to find your inner child who used to run around the playground and invite them back out for a game of tag!
Remember to always have water with you because we all know that Texas summers are brutal. Stay safe and keep moving!